Fried egg over rice and vegetables

A commonly asked question of chefs is, “Do you enjoy cooking at home?” It’s a great question! After all, most accountants don’t crunch the numbers every day, just to come home and do it for themselves and their families (at least, we don’t think so?).

For those of us at the CIA, cooking is something we love to do, and yes, we often cook at home. But that doesn’t mean we are always motivated to glaze a duck or prepare a low and slow braise with all the accoutrements. In fact, a tired chef’s best friend is an ingredient that is delicious, filling, and can be prepared in minutes, like the egg.

You may think of eggs as breakfast food or an ingredient in your favorite cookie recipe, but eggs are a nutrient-rich protein that is welcome on the table any time of day—especially dinner!

In cooking, we use eggs to bind one ingredient to another, like in an egg wash for breading chicken or holding your meatloaf together. Eggs work that way in the plate, too! With the addition of a runny yolk or baked into a fluffy frittata, any kitchen sink collection of spare ingredients become a composed dish in a matter of minutes.

Think about all the easiest things you can prepare when you’re exhausted: a bowl of rice; a hearty piece of avocado toast; leftover roasted vegetables; a big handful of salad greens. Maybe none of them feel like a proper meal on their own, but topped with a 4 minute fried-egg (or two!) and a few drizzles of your favorite prepared condiments or toppings, suddenly it’s dinner. In fact, there may be no dish more satisfying after a hard day at work than hot rice, a fried egg, kimchi, and a drizzle of hot sauce.

Treat eggs as a less expensive and quicker-to-cook alternative to chicken, beef, beans, or any other protein, and pair your favorite style with any of your go-to sides or accompaniments. There is no wrong way to eat an egg!

Of course, eggs for dinner doesn’t have to be all about convenience, since some of the best dishes feature eggs as a star component—where they belong!

Shakshuka, a Middle Eastern and North African dish, features soft-cooked eggs floating in an aromatic and sometimes-spicy tomato sauce, with pitas, other flatbreads, or crusty bread to soak up bites of flavor. The Italian version is sometimes called eggs in Purgatory, and you may find other variations around the world using lots of herbs, tangy tomatillos, or fragrant spices.

In Mexico and Tex-Mex regions of the United States, you’ll find migas: scrambled eggs mixed with fried and salsa-soaked tortillas, often tossed along with meat and vegetables. If you’d really like to gild the lily, you can serve your migas with corn tortillas to make migas tacos, something you’ll find in travels around Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

And, then of course, we have the omelet, which is a revered lunch and dinner meal across the world, from France to Japan! Fill the omelet with any cheese, herbs, or meats, or serve it plain with stir-fried vegetables, a big green salad, or, sure, even French fries!

The key to eggs-for-dinner is a really great egg, so be sure to explore your local farmers’ market to find bright orange yolks that will be rich, creamy, and full of flavor. They’re a sign that the chicken was fed a variety of nutrient-rich foods, and we bet you’ll taste the difference.