Like that guy in your building who always tidies the empty bins on garbage day or the receptionist at your dentist’s office who never forgets how much you love dogs, eggs are wee packages of wonderful that we can always depend on. How many times have you been scrambling for something filling and healthful to eat only to realize you still had a half-dozen eggs in your mostly-barren fridge? What about when you want lagniappe on the leftover pork fried rice you ordered the night before? Or what if you just know your backyard burger would be lovely with a little extra “oomph” that can only come from the rich, golden yolk of a sunny-side-up egg? From supplementing and snacking to a main dish, eggs are always a good answer.
Aside from their reliability, versatility and overall deliciousness, eggs are also incredibly inexpensive making them a prime topic for a column about cheap eats … like this one.
It’s a fact that $20 & Under (and its predecessor $15 & Under) has on many occasions over the past several years discussed great egg dishes to be found in and around the Crescent City, from the pickled shrimp and deviled eggs at Root to the rosemary pork loin Benedict at Dante’s Kitchen, but can we ever run out of new egg dishes to try?
For example, you may not have tried the scrumptious Scotch Egg (a star at the Po-Boy Festival) at Simone’s Market, a spot that only recently opened on Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood. A perfectly soft-boiled egg is wrapped in pork-sage sausage, rolled in panko and fried to a crispy golden brown and served with mustard seeds and pickles. At only $6 each, its a steal and you could double, or triple your order or just devour it as an appetizer with a pimento grilled cheese sandwich at the main course.
The deviled egg will never disappear, not that we want it to but the trend is certainly still going strong. Discover another version of Chef Phillip Lopez’ devilish shrimp dish at Petit Lion inside the Troubadour Hotel. Though quite a bit pricier, but still in our wheelhouse at $13 (for six halves), you can delight in his crab-stuffed deviled eggs topped with smoked caviar and capped jauntily with a potato crisp. Speaking of tasty toppers, dive into the crispy-fried chicken skin-topped deviled eggs at Turkey and the Wolf ($6 for three halves), chef Mason Hereford’s new digs on the corner of Jackson and Annunciation.
If you’ve ever dined at Tartine, Cara Benson’s flagship restaurant on Perrier Street Uptown, you must have tried her baked eggs in a warm, chewy, brioche bread bowl made unforgettable with tarragon-laced cream and topped with nutty, melted Gruyere for a mere $8. No? Then what about the homey egg salad sandwich served open-faced with avocado butter and radishes for $8.50? If your answer is again no, may you suffer a chorus of “tsks” and “smh” till the matter is rectified.
It may just be a personal preference, but a bowl of ramen just doesn’t seem right without a soft-boiled egg – just floating above the greens and noodles, waiting oh-so patiently to be broken apart, an act that blends the golden, yolky goodness into the rich, meaty broth. Spoil yourself with a bowl of wholly “inauthentic” ramen from Kin, a Gert Town gem opened by Hieu Than a couple of years ago. It’s always something different at the tiny yellow restaurant on Washington Avenue, with various meat and seafood broths, bok choy, mushrooms, pork belly, corn, spinach, collard greens, chicken, crawfish … the combinations are as boundless as is the chef’s creativity. Though the ramen featured are a daily surprise (well worth the $12 to $15 price tag) you can always count on that delectable soft-boiled egg.
*Article published in the April 2017 Jazz Fest issue of Where Y’at Magazine
**Simone’s Market and Petit Lion are closed