“Posh Eggs: Over 70 recipes for wonderful eggy things.” By Lucy O’Reilly. Quadrille Publishing Limited. 176 pages. $19.95.

If you don’t already appreciate the versatility of the simple egg, you will be the time you’ve finished flipping through “Posh Eggs: Over 70 recipes for wonderful eggy things.”

“From providing reassuringly humble treats to something very, very posh, without the mighty egg, our culinary lives would be infinitely poorer,” Lucy O’Reilly writes in the introduction.

Eggs are a staple in my kitchen, but I rarely experiment with new ways to serve them. There are only so many ways to make fritattas and scrambled eggs interesting, so I was excited to get my hands on “Posh Eggs.” Nearly every recipe appeals to me: the egg foo yung and egg drop soup, the traditional Greek lemon and egg soup, the salmon quiche with pink peppercorns.

O’Reilly, a U.K.-based freelance food stylist and writer, opens the book with the most basic and helpful instructions on how to boil, poach, scramble and fry eggs, though this book may be a bit of a challenge for an inexperienced cook. The recipes are presented in a very straightforward way and some are simple – including the classic retro canape deviled eggs – but others take more skill in the kitchen, like the twice-baked crab souffles topped with crème fraîche and Gruyere. Many of the recipes will appeal to people who appreciate complex flavors, like in the Turkish Menemen. O’Reilly says the “simple yet gutsy” baked egg dish is best serve straight from the pan with warm flatbreads for mopping and dipping.

I’ll admit that I often choose cookbooks with my eyes (at least initially) and have a hard time inspiring myself to try a new recipe that doesn’t include photos. For me, “Posh Eggs” was a visual delight. The photos, by Louise Hagger, may be among the most beautiful I’ve seen in a cookbook.

I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the photo of the Israeli Green Shakshuka, and not just because the dish was plated on a stunning vintage Catherineholm platter I lusted over. The shakshuka looked luscious: a bright orange yolk dusted with pepper and nestled on a pile of greens scattered with bright green sprigs of dill and bright red chilis. The dish was easy to prepare, and packed a big flavor punch. The yolk added a nice richness to complement the sweet onion, salty feta and olives and crisp greens.

The book is divided into five sections based on type of eggs: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and desserts and drinks. I found the Green Shakshuka in the lunch section, but really I’d eat that for any meal of the day. Or maybe twice in a day. This recipe will now be in regular rotation in my kitchen.

I prepared the shakshuka as instructed by O’Reilly, but didn’t use the optional sumac (which would given it a pleasingly sour wallop). It wasn’t available at my small local grocery store, but should be available in bigger stores or specialty shops. O’Reilly suggests using purple kale if you come across it to add an extra pop of color to the already bright dish.

Green Shakshuka Photo by Louise Hagger


Serves 2; takes 25 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 ounces mixed shredded greens such as kale or chard (any thick stems removed)

4 ounces baby spinach leaves

3 tablespoons double (heavy) cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1.5 ounces black and green pitted olives, roughly chopped

2 eggs

2 ounces feta

Handful chopped parsley leaves

Small handful dill sprigs

1/2 red chili pepper, finely sliced

Pinch of sumac (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat until softened. Stir in the garlic and spices, and continue to cook for a couple minutes. Add the shredded greens and season well. Cover and cook for 1 minute, then uncover and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the baby spinach, folding through to wilt the leaves.

Stir in the cream, lemon juice and olives. Make 2 depressions in the vegetables and crack your eggs into these. Crumble over the feta and scatter with the herbs and chili. Season the eggs with the sumac and salt and pepper, then cook gently for 12 minutes or until the egg whites have set. Serve in the pan at the table.