Did you fall in love with The Crispy Egg? Did you, too, find yourself obsessed with the crackly lacy edges, the potato-chip like crisp underneath, the souffled egg whites, and the high melodrama of all of that hissing and sputtering? Did you go on a Crispy Egg Bender? Come, sit down. You’re among friends.
This is the next chapter in the crispy egg saga. It was intended for the next day, but I mistakenly got distracted with chicken pot pies, chocolate babka and fall-toush salads instead — my priorities are whack, I know. It came into my life when I went on the hunt for something more interesting to do with egg salad. I mean, traditional egg salad is oh-kay (although I prefer my take on it, with coarse dijon and bits ‘o pickled celery) but given all of the magical, wonderful ways you can cook and consume eggs, don’t you think the category of egg salad really ought to contain more clever intrigues than, say, curry powder and jarred mayo (shudder)?
I found exactly what I never knew I was looking for in the Pok Pok Cookbook I’d purchased that month, unable to resist the (worthy) hype any longer. Here, the aforementioned crispy egg is flipped and fried again, until the yolks are cooked but still “molten” and the whole thing is a golden shattery cloud. Meanwhile, prep a salad — greens, onion, carrots, celery and cilantro are suggested but there’s no reason not to add or subtract items you already have around. And look, I realize at this point you’re probably thinking, “Okay, Deb, it’s a fried egg and salad. Are we really going to make such a big deal out of this?” I get it. I’d think the same. But I haven’t told you about the dressing yet, excuse me, the sizzling dressing. The mere suggestion of the ingredient combination — lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, garlic, hold me — was enough to stop me, and every dated, mayo-inflected notion of what egg salad could be, in my tracks. Poured over this salad and rough-chopped crispy eggs while still hot and tossed just enough to slightly wilt it, to be honest, I think I wilted along with it. It’s that good. It wants to be your dinner tonight.
Also new: Yesterday, on the sporadically-updated Tips blog, I walked you through making your own vanilla extract. It’s insanely simple and budget-friendly, and so good, there’s no going back to store-bought. [Make Your Own Vanilla Extract]
One year ago: Warm Lentil and Potato Salad
Two years ago: Lentil Soup with Sausage, Garlic and Chard
Three years ago: Buttermilk Roast Chicken
Four years ago: Chocolate Peanut Spread
Five years ago: Cranberry Syrup + An Intensely Almond Cake and Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
Six years ago: Mushroom Bourguignon and Smashed Chickpea Salad
Seven years ago: Fried Chicken
Eight years ago: Leek and Mushroom Quiche and Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Grilled Peach Splits + News! and Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde
1.5 Years Ago: Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Peach Pie
3.5 Years Ago: Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini-Radish Slaw
Fried Egg Salad [Yam Khai Dao]
Adapted, just a little, from the Pok Pok Cookbook
I made several liberal interpretations here. I used readily-available celery, not Chinese. I used less than one chile because my husband declared it “plenty hot” only to find that we might not have minded the second one, since the other dressing ingredients mellowed it a lot. If you’ve got palm sugar and want to make palm sugar simple syrup (here’s the recipe online), you absolutely should, but I just used 1 tablespoon water + 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar instead. Finally, the salad is supposed to be tossed at the end in a hot wok with the dressing you’ve made, but I found pouring the hot dressing over the salad and tossing it to be an acceptable substitute. It only lightly wilted the ingredients, my preference. For the to-the-letter version, plus an almost unfair amount of delicious inspiration in one place (hello, fish sauce wings, papaya salad and grilled corn with salty coconut cream), I cannot recommend the cookbook enough.
Serves 2 to
6 4 (as part of a larger meal), but it also makes an excellent single-serving meal for a hungry human
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Enough vegetable oil to reach a depth of 1/4-inch
1 cup lightly-packed torn green leaf lettuce (approximately 2-inch pieces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/4 cup thin or julienned carrot strips
1/4 cup coarsely chopped celery, Chinese or other, include leaves
1/4 cup lightly packed coarsely chopped cilantro, thin stems and leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (Key limes are recommended, but don’t fuss if you can’t find them)
1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar simple syrup [see Note up top] or 1 tablespoon water + 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons (1 large clove) very thinly sliced garlic
2 fresh Thai chiles, preferably green, thinly sliced (more or less to taste)
Fry eggs: Heat a wok or small skillet over the highest heat. Once hot, add enough oil to reach a depth of a generous 1/4-inch. Once the oil is hot enough to smoke, carefully crack the eggs into the oil — cautiously, as they will splatter a lot — and decrease the heat to medium-high. The eggs will hiss, sputter and the whites should puff and develop translucent bubbles. Once they’re very crispy and a deep golden brown underneath, 45 seconds to 1 minute, use a thin spatula to flip the eggs, trying not to break the yolks but not fretting if it happens. Cook for another minute on the second side, until the yolks are set but still slightly molten (aim to have them a little less loose than mine, shown above). Transfer eggs to paper towels; you can cook them up to 15 minutes before serving. Discard oil and wipe out wok or skillet.
Assemble salad: Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Quarter the eggs through the yolks and add them to the salad.
Make the dressing: Place the lime juice, palm syrup or dark brown sugar and water, fish sauce, garlic and chiles in the same wok or skillet. Set it over medium heat and heat the mixture until it just begins to sizzle at the edges, less than 30 seconds.
Finish and serve: Pour the hot dressing over the salad and eggs. Stir gently to combine. If you’re feeling fancy, transfer the salad, liquid at all, to a plate in a low heap. Eat at once.