Put an egg on it

[Added 4/19/19: This posting is now dedicated to the memory of soc-motsser Frank McQuarry, who died on 3/26/19. Knarf raised complaining to an entertaining art form, but went out steadfast and uncomplaining; his complaining was in fact a form of everyday art, not a mode of life. Meanwhile, he gave us the epigrammatic advice, “Put a fucking fried egg on it!”, which is why this odd elegy for him appears here.]

On the 26th, in my posting “croquet monsieur”, a return to the croque-monsieur sandwich and its variant with a fried egg on top, the croque-madame. At which point a Facebook reader suggested that the croque-madame was à la Holstein — a reference to schnitzel à la Holstein, whose primary addition to the basic schnitzel is a fried egg on top. There is, in fact, a school of thought that anything (well, anything savory) goes better with an egg — fried, poached, or raw — on top.

Schnitzel à la Holstein. From the Saveur magazine recipe for classic Schnitzel à la Holstein, “The crisp-fried veal topped with luscious egg, salty anchovies, and capers is a brilliant study in contrasting flavors and textures” by Todd Coleman:


Oh, the many variations on the schnitzel theme. There’s the basic wiener schnitzel — a veal cutlet pounded tender, breaded, and fried — found, with different regional flourishes, throughout central and northern Europe. This revamp was cooked up in the late 19th century at the Berlin restaurant Borschardt, to please the palate of one Friedrich von Holstein. The crisp-fried veal topped with luscious egg and salty anchovies and capers is a brilliant study in contrasting flavors and textures.

The material in boldface is repeated, with only minor variation, in a number of other recipes on the net. Without any account of the restaurant or any identification of the Friedrich von Holstein in question. Both, as it turns out, are quite famous.

From Wikipedia:

Friedrich August Karl Ferdinand Julius von Holstein (April 24, 1837 – May 8, 1909) [from a distinguished family from the Baltic coast Mecklenburg region, allied with Prussian Western Pomerania] was a civil servant of the German Empire and served as the head of the political department of the German Foreign Office for more than thirty years. He played a major role [as an eminence grise] in shaping foreign policy after Bismarck was dismissed in 1890.

The restaurant where Schnitzel à la Holstein was first created for von Holstein is called Borschardt in the story above, and there is a currently a notable Berlin restaurant Borchardt (on Französische Str.), with Wiener Schnitzel as one of its signature dishes. From the Berlin Food Stories site on 1/25/17: “The best schnitzel in Berlin: the only guide to schnitzel bliss”:


7. Borchardt: This old-school celebrity hangout is home to Berlin’s most famous Schnitzel. Although the Borchardt’s Wiener Schnitzel (just like its audience) has definitely has seen better days, it still remains a great Schnitzel and if you’re into to people-watching as well as waiters with white shirts and black vests then this is the Schnitzel for you.

The reference to people-watching is an allusion to the fact that the restaurant (which offers French, German, and Austrian dishes, plus a well-reviewed cabaret) is trendy and thick with celebrities.

Meanwhile, the name of the place is spelled Borschardt in several recent touristic reports about Berlin, some of which characterize it as the “see and be seen” restaurant of Berlin. I’ve found no explanation of the spelling variation, but it seems pretty clear that the current celebrity-magnet place is a continuation of the  fin de siècle restaurant that catered to von Holstein’s food whims.

An egg on top. A croque-madame comes with a fried egg on top. Then there’s Eggs Benedict, with a poached egg on top (sometimes a fried egg, if you find egg poaching too tricky). From Wikipedia:

Eggs Benedict … is a traditional American breakfast or brunch dish that consists of two halves of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, bacon or ham, and hollandaise sauce. The dish was first popularized in New York City [in the late 19th century; there is dispute about the details of its origin]. Many variations on the basic recipe are served.

The article lists 16 variations. I’m especially fond of smoked salmon Benedicts. Here’s a yummy one with dill hollandaise:


Then there are dishes with a raw egg on top (sometimes replaced by a poached egg for food safety or a fried egg for ease of cooking), for example the Korean dish bibimbap —  white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), with a raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) as common additions — as treated in a section of my 3/24/14 posting “Breakfast around the world”:


Them , from BuzzFeed on 10/4/13, “19 Foods That Are Better With A Fried Egg on Top. The short answer: everything” by Adam Ellis, with recipes gleaned from a variety of restaurants and cooking sites:

1. Raviolo Gigante With Fried Egg: a big polenta-stuffed raviolo with a fried egg, for brunch
2. Warm Spinach Salad with Fried Egg and Potatoes
3. Roast Beef Hash With Crispy Onions (and a fried egg)
4. Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs
5. Black Bean Cheeseburger with Fried Egg
6. Aussie Burger with “The Lot”: lettuce, tomato, beef patty, cheese, ketchup, beetroot (sliced pickled beets), fried onions, bacon, pineapple, and a fried egg on the top
7. Hardcore Vietnamese Bánh Mì (with fried egg)
8. Korean Rice Bowl with Steak, Asparagus, and Fried Egg
9. Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap) (with fried egg)
10. Creamy Polenta with Melted Peppers and Mushrooms (and a fried egg)
11. Savory Cheddar Waffle BLT with Egg
12. Sweet Potato and Cilantro Quesadilla with Fried Egg and Cumin Oil
13. Bacon Jam Breakfast Sandwich with Fried Egg and Avocado
14. Asparagus with Fried Egg and Parmesan Cheese
15. Italian Asparagus Soup with Fried Egg
16. Barbecued Biscuits with Soft Fried Egg
17. Stir-fry Sukiyaki Udon (with fried egg)
18. Breakfast Pizza (with herbs, ricotta cheese and a fried egg)
19. the perfect fried egg

Fried egg for breakfast, fried egg for brunch, fried egg for lunch, fried egg for dinner.

[Added on Easter Sunday 4/21/19: bon appétit magazine’s brunch dish, the Frank McQuarry special: steak with fried eggs (and salsa verde) on top:

(#5) Knarf it down!]

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