I found this “recipe” years ago in an issue of O magazine, and have been using it with wild abandon ever since. The recipe is basically to use the yolk from a poached or fried egg, along with some flavorings from the dish you are saucing, as the sauce. Here’s an example of how it goes:
Take fresh asparagus, (the first joy of Spring), and pan roast it. You do this essentially by putting some olive oil (1-2 Tbs. depending on the amount of asparagus) in a pan over medium-high heat; add the asparagus, some salt and a little water (2 Tbs.); cover and steam for a few minutes, until the asparagus is almost cooked. Then remove the cover, let the water evaporate as it simmers, and the asparagus will start to brown on the bottom. This is perfect.
Now, take that asparagus and put it on your plate and slip an egg into the hot pan to cook. While the egg cooks grate some parmesan cheese over the asparagus. Now place the cooked egg on top of the asparagus on your plate (or bowl), salt and pepper it all, and grate a little more parm over the egg.
Once you break the yolk and dig into this deliciousness, the egg yolk, olive oil and parmesan cheese combine to make a “lazy” hollandaise sauce. This is a great dinner when you are eating alone, and you can add one of the delicious parmesan crisps (available in the crouton section of the market) or a slice of crusty bread for some crunch. The egg and parmesan give you protein, you have your green veggie, and a little starch for satisfaction.
This sauce also works over pasta, just add the egg over your cooked, hot pasta; grate some parmesan cheese over the top, add salt and course-ground pepper and you have a lazy carbonara. Keep the pasta a little wet from its cooking water, and the starch from that will help make it more of a sauce. (I just use tongs to take the pasta out of the water and into the bowl, without draining the pasta first.) If you are feeling flush, or have a little wiggle room in your jeans, then cook the egg in butter, pour the browned butter on top with the egg, and send this into nearly sublime territory.
You can also combine veggies, such as broccoli or baby spinach, roasted or steamed or grilled, with some leftover pasta, add the egg on top, the parmesan, and have a quick meal that tastes way more complicated than it is. Whether you poach or fry the egg is up to you – I think frying is much easier since the pan is already hot and coated with olive oil. You can change up the cheese if you like – a little feta is also good – and add anything that strikes your fancy. Simple and delicious, this lazy sauce feeds body and soul.
I’d love to hear what you think about this, and any other “lazy” cooking techniques you have.