We owe the idea to Jacques Pépin and his memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). The inspiration comes from war-torn France and a recipe born of scarcity that Jacques' mother created during World War II, though you'd never know it when you pick up your fork.
This is the kind of double-edged story that we love to find in the things we eat.
Note: The eggs could be stuffed a day ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to sauté them.
2. Add the mustard, garlic, onion, parsley, milk, mayonnaise, and vinegar to the yolks. With a fork, crush everything together into a thick paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pack the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites, so the filling is even with the surface of the egg, not mounded. You will have leftover stuffing (this becomes the salad dressing).
4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Gently place the eggs in the pan, stuffed side down. Cook until the eggs are beautifully browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper as they cook.
5. As the eggs sauté, combine in a large bowl the leftover egg stuffing with all the dressing ingredients. Add the salad greens to the bowl, and toss. Heap them on a serving platter.
6. Gently lift the eggs from the pan, turn them filling side up, set them on the greens, and serve.
From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, April 2008). Copyright 2008 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.