One Pan Breakfast to Impress

One pan recipe- Two eggs over well + Zucchini finished with fresh cilantro and lemon zest with sriracha

Combining something as simple as pan-fried eggs and a few vegis is a great start to any day.

This is one of my favorite methods for making breakfast because it uses one cutting board, a knife, and an 8″ non-stick pan. Intended to be quick, easy to clean up afterwards, and as important as anything… delicous. Below I step through the recipe for you.
I’ll share a chef secret right now. Finishing any dish with a little lemon zest (Acid) and fresh herbs on the plate at the end takes this breakfast, and most meals, to an entirely noteworthy level. This dish can come together on a hotplate. It’s that easy.

A few getting started pointers.
1) Use pure vegetable oil. The total amount in this recipe is less than a tablespoon. I like to repurpose a plastic service ketchup container and cut off the tip in order to be able to easily control and limit the amount of oil that ends up in the pan. Pro tip– Canola oil converts to a pretty toxic substance if overheated (which is very easy to do) and so I recommend that you never purchase “canola oil” again. Get it out of your kitchen.

2) The word finish in a chef’s world most often indicates one of two things. Either you add something at the end, in the pan, while it is “finshing” cooking or you add an ingredient(s) to the plate of food before you serve it. In this recipe, finish means to the plate. In either instance, the timing make a huge difference in the pop of flavor you get from your dish.

3) Pro Tip– Fresh Herbs and other ingredients, like lemon zest, contain essential oils which when heated and/or combined during cooking processes with other ingredients, like when you are sauteing or cooking in sauces, tend to almost always add rather unpleasant undertones to what you are cooking. It’s chemistry. This is why most professional cooks prefer to use dried herbs if they want to add flavor during the cooking process. Always add fresh herbs and zest right at the end of the cooking process or to the plate as a way to add layers of flavor.

Here are most of the items you need. Prepping them before you cook will result in a much better outcome.
Red Onion, Shitake Mushrooms, Veg Oil, Zucchini, garlic, two organic eggs, and a few sprigs of cilantro, (not pictured) salt and pepper + a half teaspoon of lemon zest.
Step #1. Start with a little vegetable oil on medium-high heat, Remember that Canola Oil is not vegetable oil and is bad for us. About a teaspoon.
Step #2. Add the Onions and Shitake Mushrooms and saute them for about three minutes until both began to wilt and look like this. Add a pinch of salt and pepper at each step
Step#3. Next, add your Zucchini and give the pan a shake or the ingredients a stir. Allow everything to cook together for another 3 minutes or so until the Zucchini starts to turn a little translucent. Keep in mind that the onions and the mushrooms are developing their complex flavors and they should begin to show a little browning soon but not too much. Keep your pan well heated but not overly so because you still have another 8 minutes of cooking to go!
Step #4. At this point, we are starting to see things brown and the Zucchini is beginning to transform through picking up the flavors of the onions and mushrooms. In the pan, create a “well” within your ingredients. This is the point where I add the chopped fresh garlic too. Pro tip -Garlic will burn quickly and so we want it to meld in without being overcooked and bitter (add it near the end when sauteeing). Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt and pepper at each stage!
Step #4. Time to fry the eggs! Add two cracked eggs to your well. I used the bowl method where you crack the eggs into a bowl in order to ensure no pieces of shells or broken eggs go into your pan. But frankly, it would be fine if your eggs broke or if you scrambled them in the well of ingredients (I refer to it as Chinese Fried rice style)- Did I mention you need to add a pinch of salt and pepper?
Step #5. I cover mine almost immediately in order to give the top of the eggs a chance to steam cook. About two minutes max with the cover and I lowered my heat a smidge because I want the heat but not too much steam. In a commercial kitchen, we would likely forego the cover method anbd shove the pan under a broiler for the same amount of time.
Step #6. It looks like this after a couple of minutes iwth the top on and before I flip it. Those eggs are more done than they look. Medium at this point.
Step#6. I did the chef pan flip thing right at the end. For those chefs out there thinking that my eggs are little too brown, you can kiss my ass, this is the way I like them. But those chefs have a good point. Over-browning/cooking eggs makes them rubbery.
Note that little pieces of crunchy onions and dark bits of mushrooms have developed around the edges? Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. BUT. Had I not managed my heat and moved quickly through my recipe those bits could have burned and the entire dish would have a bitter flavor. That’s why having all your ingredients chopped and ready to go before you start is very important. Pro tip– On a line in a professional kitchen the cooks fire under higher heats because it is part of keeping up with the orders coming in. It’s a technique that quickly go awry in your home kitchen. At home, even for myself, there is no need to go screaming hot in order to keep on top of your orders. Dial it back a bit.
Oh- If you can’t do the chef flip in the pan, you can either use the broiler method I described earlier or flip your entire pan of ingredients into another pan that is heated up. Though….. that makes this a two-pan meal.
Step #7. Here is a shot of that lemon zest I keep mentioning:)
And…. back to the money shot! Topped with a little fresh chopped cilantro and lemon zest

What you could have done.
Incorporated almost anything from your kitchen like leftover rice or added red peppers, some chopped greens (more acid and fat needed), added some BACON, or any number of other things that are sitting in your frig. You could have used regular fresh basil or a little fresh chopped oregano too. You could have added a little fresh chopped ginger and a splash of Soy Sauce (finish with it in the pan) and created an entirely different language of cooking love.
If your brother loves ketchup on his eggs and is visiting, you could suspend your judgment, because that ketchup thing works too. If your kids love waffles you can eliminate the eggs and drown the entire thing in maple syrup.

And finally, because we live in Tucson, AZ and we are awesome, we could have added a little fresh avocado or some chopped jalapeno!

Once you have the techniques figured out the possibilities are endless. I hope this gives you a little inspiration.

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