The yogurt on the plate

After college, I lived in Jerusalem for a while.  About a block from my apartment was a tiny café, and I’d go there for their signature breakfast as often as my budget would allow.  On a single plate you’d get eggs made to order, chopped cucumber and tomato salad, yogurt, toast, jam, and a honeyed tahini spread that, actually, I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned here.  I’ll have to take care of that.  Today, though, I want to talk about another corner of that plate, the one with the eggs, the yogurt, and the salad.

Made-to-order eggs, for me, mean sunny side up.  It’s those last luscious mouthfuls I'm after, when I slice into my carefully guarded yolks and chase them around my plate with the toast I’ve been saving for precisely that moment.  A joy, as any lover of fried eggs will tell you, here amplified to earsplitting levels by the yogurt on the plate.  The yolk spills down into it, and suddenly you have more stuff for swiping and sopping than you ever could have hoped for in a yolk alone.  Warm and buttery, cold and creamy; some bites, it’s hard to tell where the yolk ends and the yogurt begins.  The olive oil and the juices from the tomatoes deserve a mention here, too, the way they run into the yolk and yogurt and brighten them up.  Lately, I’ve been breaking the yolks right away so that they seep down in and around the tomatoes, mingle with the oil to form a rich, perfect sauce.  You'll want some extra toast.

Yogurt and Eggs

I’ve replaced the chopped cucumber and tomato salad from that Jerusalem café with a few thick slices of tomato alone.  As for the yogurt, I suggest the plain, full-fat kind, but not Greek, which is thicker and won’t be as saucy.  I use Stonyfield Farm whole milk yogurt, here.

2 large eggs
A medium scoop - say, half a cup? - of plain, full-fat yogurt
3 thick slices of tomato
2-3 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
A glug of olive oil for frying
A teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (Using one you really like makes a difference here.)
Sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)

Fry up your eggs however you like to do it.  Here’s my approach for eggs that are crisp and brown around the edges, with a cooked-through white and a runny yolk:  Heat some olive oil over a strong medium flame in a non-stick or cast iron pan.  Add the eggs, wait about 15-20 seconds (you're letting the bottoms of the eggs really fry over the higher flame), then cover the pan and turn down the heat slightly.  The eggs will continue to fry from the bottom up, while the tops of the eggs firm up nicely in the steam.  They’re done after about 2-2½ minutes, when the whites no longer jiggle, but the yolks are still plenty soft.

While the eggs are cooking, spoon the yogurt onto the plate, top with the tomato slices, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt and some of the sliced basil over top.  When the eggs are ready, slide them on top of the tomatoes and top with freshly ground black pepper, the rest of the basil, and another pinch of salt.  Serve with toast.


Rogue Unicorn said...

A post after my own heart...

omeletta said...

oooohhh, eggs and yogurt are a heavenly combo. It makes my mouth water just to think about it right now! The two together are like hollondaise on crack. Along with good bread to sop it up? TheBest!

molly said...

1. Were you actually standing atop the table?
2. My kitchen currently contains every last thing on that plate, down to the Stonyfield. Thy name is Monday morning breakfast.
3. You are the best, on a shelf of bests.

alanachernila said...

I think that it might be the case that I have put eggs together with everything, and I have put yogurt together with everything, but I think that I have never put them together, ever! Now your lovely words have put the craving right into my taste buds and it won't be long before I make it a reality. Brilliant.

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

I just bought some yogurt over the weekend, something I don't normally do, but it seems that everyone loves yogurt except for me, and I hate feeling left out. And then you go and tell me that I can top my yogurt with fried eggs?! Well. I must do this.

Jess said...

Rogue Unicorn - Do you know the spot? It was called Cafe Shosh, I think, on Rechov HaPalmach. I heard that the original location closed a few years back and that they now have a bigger place under new management.

omeletta - Ah, we agree then! Good, good stuff.

Molly - You totally busted me! I was indeed in my socks atop that table. Didn't want to block the light. You know how it goes. (You! You are so kind, and I hope you know that the feeling is mutual.)

Alana - Do it! Perhaps with the garlic scapes you've been speaking of so fondly?

Jacqui - I KNEW you'd like this one. Try it, try it! xo.

Riv said...

Jess - I've been dreaming of that honeyed techina spread you mention.....please please a recipe? I eat techina with a spoon on a normal day, but a touch of honey makes it sound even more enticing.

Jess said...

Riv, I am on the case! Stay tuned...

Rebecca D. Martin said...

I made this for dinner tonight. Delicious! A hit with everyone! Thank you so much! (Didn't have a full-sized tomato, so chopped some grape tomatoes in half. Still perfect.)

koshercamembert said...

Jess -- I love how you fry eggs, and it's pretty close to how I've been doing it for years to get that those crispy brown edges and runny yolk. These eggs are my usual Sunday morning treat. (Though they've been known to show up at dinner quite frequently.)

I tend to put them atop a scoop of labne and some wilted arugula (wilted right in the egg pan for a minute or two and sprinkled with lemon juice). The heat of the egg and arugula melts the labne a bit so it's less thick but still has that extra savory "bite."

Jess said...

Rebecca - Hi there! Apologies for the slow reply. I'm so happy you enjoyed. I've gone the halved grape tomato route before, too, though I had forgotten about that until you mentioned it. Actually, I think there are times I might prefer it that way... Thanks for the reminder. (Looking forward to seeing your work in Kinfolk!)

Gayle, Gayle, Gayle... Labne and arugula? Oh yes, please! You do it up right.

julie Thrapp said...

I saw this recipe a few days before leaving on vacation with friends. I made this most mornings. It was very satisfying and got us to lunch w/o snacking. I didn't have the cuc or tomats but i had spinach so i fried the eggs on top of spinach. The combo of eggs and yogurt seemed iffy to me but it was good! Now that we're home i'll be adding tomats from the garden. I'm looking forward to that.

Jess said...

Thanks for letting me know, Julie! I'm so glad you enjoyed. Spinach sounds like an excellent swap. And tomatoes fresh from your garden? Even better!