Eggs Fried in Parmesan Breadcrumbs with Wilted Spinach

2 or 4 Servings

20 minutes

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Eggs fried in breadcrumbs were the creation of the late Judy Rodgers, the longtime chef of Zuni Cafe, San Francisco’s landmark restaurant. The iconic dish consists of crisp, toasted breadcrumbs on top of which eggs are cooked, the whites seeping slightly into the crumbs before they set and the yolks remaining sunny and runny. For our version, we use panko instead of stale bread torn into pieces, as Rodgers did, and before toasting, we mix in a little Parmesan (or manchego) cheese to add umami, plus a touch of vinegar to sharpen the flavors. Baby spinach scattered over the eggs as they fry in the covered pan offers insulation so they cook gently. If you prefer your yolks medium- or hard-set, add 1 to 3 minutes to the cooking time. Only four eggs fit comfortably in a 12-inch skillet; if you need more for serving, it’s best to make another batch or use a second 12-inch nonstick skillet.

2 or 4



Don’t overtoast the panko mixture. It should be only lightly browned before the additional oil and eggs are added. If the mixture is already moderately toasted when the eggs are added, the breadcrumbs may wind up overdone in the finished dish.

20 minutes


  • ¾

    cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1

    ounce finely grated (½ cup) Parmesan or manchego cheese, plus more to serve


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