Snow days and holidays are special days, at least for me, and on special days, I make special breakfasts, almost always including my favorite breakfast dish in the whole entire universe (scrapple being a very, very close second)—daisy eggs. They’re a bit of work, but make the rest of the day seem like something more than it might be, another chance to be here—all here, all now, just me and my breakfast against the forces of despair in the world.
It’s more of a methodology than a recipe, really, since this is essentially just a tarted-up version of eggs on toast. I’ll give the process for one egg and you can just scale it up as you like. Also—warning!—you must be the kind of person who likes your yolks saucy to enjoy these eggs, because if you cook the yolks firm on this, it just turns into a strange awful dry hunk of insulation with a golf ball inside.
• An egg, preferably a free-range organic one (because it’s mean to torture chickens, even boring crappy old Leghorns). Brown ones don’t taste different, but they add nice earth tones to the cooking process.
• A well-toasted slice of bread, and not not not that awful gummy white atrocity that most people mistake for bread. On the same token, you don’t want to use bread that’s too firm and nutty for this, because it fights against the natural waftiness of the meringue. I normally use Shiloh Farms bread around the house, because it’s a joyously textured, sprouted wheat, soulful kind of bread, but it has too much of it’s own personality for daisy eggs. Stick with a nice firm-textured italian bread or a hearty farmhouse white or maybe a boule with the crusts trimmed and you’ll be just fine.
• A bit of milk, maybe a tablespoon’s worth.
• A slightly buttered/greased cookie sheet (If I catch you using Pam or margarine or some similar chemical nightmare, I will come to your house and bite you really, really hard).
• A mixer (You could also use a balloon whisk for this if you are very patient and have a wonderful old copper bowl to whisk in. I use a 1952 Hamilton Beach mixer that I bought at a thrift store for $4.)
the assembly process:
Preheat the oven to 450 (this varies, but that’s about right).
Toast your bread, then put it on the cookie sheet.
Separate your egg white from your yolk—be very very careful not to break the yolk, because a broken yolk will seep through the meringue and make a weird sort of omelet under the toast. Also, try to get all the white separated off, because jiggly raw egg white is icky around a nice yolk. Set the yolk somewhere safe.
Whip your whites in the mixer until you get foamy meringue, but don’t overbeat them or they’ll get all clumpy and unbeautiful. Practice makes perfect here.
Take a tablespoon of milk and drizzle it onto the bread, soaking it through.
Then, with a rubber spatula or equivalent, make a big blob of meringue on the toast. You’ll probably do the final shaping with your hands, which will get them all white-y, but that’s okay. When you’ve got a lovely cloud there, you’ll want to dig a little yolk-divot into the center. It should be smooth and deep, but not too deep. When it’s ready, carefully drop your yolk into the divot, being careful not to pop it (see above caution on yolk-popping).
Put the cookie sheet in the oven for about 7-10 minutes (time varies). You want to take it out when the meringue gets golden peaks but well before the yolk starts to solidify.
Admire the view, chop ’em up, and dig in while they’re hot. There’s nothing exotic about these eggs except for the extra labor, but they feel special, and make a morning special, at least to me.