Crispy Parmesan Breadcrumb Fried Eggs

Breadcrumb Fried Eggs is a creation from the landmark, San Francisco based, Zuni Cafe. Their late longtime chef, Judy Rodgers actually deserves the credit for this dish.

Rodgers was hired in 1987 as head chef and become a co-owner of Zuni Cafe in 1994. She published “The Zuni Café Cookbook” in 2002 and received the James Beard Foundation Award for ‘Outstanding Chef’ in 2004 and ‘Cookbook of the Year’ 2003.

Though she died of cancer in 2013, her cookbook won the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame award in 2022 (Source).

This classic breakfast dish consists of crispy toasted breadcrumbs and eggs placed on top with the whites oozing slightly into the crumbs before they cook and the yolks remain runny.

Chef Rodgers originally used dried bread to make the crumbs. Though we decided to use Panko breadcrumbs and added Parmesan cheese with the addition of baby spinach.

Grab your skillet and let’s start cooking this ionic recipe created by the late Chef, Judy Rodgers.

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Crispy Parmesan Breadcrumb Fried Eggs

Note: This recipe will use a 10-inch skillet. The measurements in parentheses is for a 12-inch skillet. The 10-inch skillet will make 3 servings and the 12-inch will make 2-4 servings.

1/2 cup (3/4) cup Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup (1/2) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/2 (3/4) teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 (1/2) teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1 (2) teaspoons sherry vinegar

kosher salt and ground black pepper

3 (5) tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

3 (4) large eggs

1 1/2 (3 1/2) cups baby spinach

Combine the panko, Parmesan, thyme, paprika, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Add the mixture with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to a 10-inch skillet.

Set the skillet over medium-high heat and toast the mixture, stirring often, until light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Working quickly, use the back of a spoon to create 3 (4) evenly spaced clearings in the mixture. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 (2) tablespoons oil into the clearings, dividing it evenly, then crack an egg into each; it should sizzle on contact.

Sprinkle the eggs with salt (if desired) then cover them with the baby spinach. Reduce to medium-low, cover the skillet and cook until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 5-6 minutes (for hard yokes add and additional 1-2 minutes). Remove skillet from the heat.

Using a thin, wide spatula, transfer the eggs to individual plates and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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