Put an egg on top, and the profile of just about any dish instantly and exponentially increases.
So proclaims a story in this week’s A la Carte. Similar logic would suggest that putting an egg inside a food item also heightens its appeal.
The theory certainly held true for a certain calzone that I enjoyed several times when Zoey’s Café inhabited the Shoppes at Exit 24. The café has long since decamped for Ashland, where it does a brisk business in “all-natural” ice cream. But I’ve been tempted recently to try my hand at “breakfast calzones.”
Keeping the eggs from overcooking is the trick, so a thinner pastry seems best in this case. The following “breakfast strudel” recipe calls for phyllo, rather than a heftier yeast dough. And because I typically keep both phyllo and home-smoked salmon in the freezer, these could be on our plates with little advance planning.
Smoked Salmon Breakfast Strudels
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 sheets phyllo pastry
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin strips or prices
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Lemon-Chive Sauce (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and lemon juice until frothy.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and swirl to coat pan. Pour in egg mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula, for about 2 minutes or until just set but surface is still shiny. Allow mixture to cool to just warm.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining butter. Place the phyllo on work surface and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface with 1 short side facing you and brush lightly with melted butter. Place second sheet on top and brush with butter. Starting about 2 inches from short side of sheet closest to you, spoon one quarter of eggs in center in a 3-by-4-inch rectangle with 1 long side facing you.
Sprinkle one-quarter of the salmon on top of eggs and sprinkle with the chives and lemon zest. Starting at edge closest to you, fold pastry over filling. Fold both long sides toward center and brush surface lightly with butter. Fold up into a rectangular, loose packet. Don’t make it too tight, because eggs will puff up in oven. Place packet, seam-side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush strudel packets with more melted butter. Repeat to make 3 more strudels. At this point, strudels may be refrigerated for up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Bake strudels in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden-brown. Serve strudels drizzled with Lemon-Chive Sauce or with sauce on the side. Serve over a bed of frisee, mixed baby greens or with tomato slices.
Makes 4 servings.
LEMON-CHIVE SAUCE: In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh chives and ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. While strudels are baking, pour cream mixture into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, just until bubbles form around edge. Remove from heat. Whip 1/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form; whisk into hot cream mixture. Whisk in 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Adapted by Detroit Free Press from Food and Drink magazine.