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egg on top

If you’ve been looking at restaurant menus for the past year or so, you’ve noticed that chefs are putting eggs on top of just about everything. Poached or fried eggs on top of pasta, salads, and pizzas. The egg is the world’s most perfect food, it is economical and a great way to add protein and richness to just about anything. So take a crack at this current trend at the most natural time of day, for breakfast or brunch, but with an unconventional twist, breakfast pizza!

Small eggs work best if you’re making large pizzas to slice into wedges. The challenge – small eggs can be difficult to find. Try your local Asian market because most mainstream grocery stores only carry extra-large, large, and if you’re lucky, medium eggs. If you go with the medium eggs, remove about half of the whites before placing them on the pizza, or the eggs will overflow and make a mess of the oven.  Or, divide the dough into 8 portions and make individual pizzas, then you can use the entire medium egg. You won’t get the same bang for your buck though, since you’ll get two large pizzas, or 16 servings if you follow the recipe as written. And the look of the large pizza is much more impressive than the individual, as you can see for yourself in these photos.

Side note: Almost forgot to mention – watch me at 4:30 PM on Channel 12 (NBC) Valley Dish tomorrow with Tram Mai.

Breakfast Pizza Topped with Sunny-Side Up Eggs

Pizza Dough
1 tablespoon or 1 package active dry yeast
2 cups flour, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh finely minced rosemary

Quick Sauce
28-ounce can crushed or whole Roma tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash red pepper flakes
1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce

2 cups shredded Fontina cheese, divided
8 to 10 ounces cooked breakfast sausage, divided
16 small eggs, as fresh as possible
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Fresh Herb Finish
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Handful basil, chiffonade
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pizza Dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water, yeast, and 1/4 cup of flour. Let stand for 20 minutes, this is called the sponge. Add the remaining 1  3/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, olive oil, milk, salt, and rosemary; mix thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, elastic, and a little bit tacky to the touch, about 4 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn the dough over to cover with oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Sauce: Pour tomatoes into a medium saucepan (if tomatoes are whole, use a potato masher to crush) heat through, seasoning with salt and pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes, and simmer sauce for 5 minutes. Just before you are ready to spread on pizza, fold in the pesto sauce. Folding in at the last minute, off the heat, helps keep the pesto green. You will not use all the sauce for the pizzas, the rest is wonderful with pasta or as a dipping sauce for breadsticks and such.

Place a pizza stone on the center rack of the oven and preheat to as high as the oven will go, at least 500 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Shaping the Dough: Using a pastry scraper, divide the dough in half. Set 2 pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide on the counter. Work one piece of the dough in your hands and form it into a large disk. Lay the disk of dough on one sheet of parchment. Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hands or a rolling pin to gently press the dough outward until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. It will not be a perfect circle; free-form and rustic is what you want.

Repeat with the second piece of dough and parchment. Note: The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out. You’ll bake the pizza right on the parchment paper. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out before serving.

Spread sauce evenly in a thin layer over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch crust. Top evenly with 3/4 cup of Fontina cheese. Scatter half of the sausage pieces evenly on top. Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of the Fontina. Using a pizza peel or the backside of a baking sheet, slide the parchment and pizza onto the baking stone in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.

raw egg on individual pizza, ready for the oven

Using the back of a large spoon, lightly make 8 indentations around the pizza, not too close to the crust. Crack the eggs into a cup and slip them into each depression (use fresh eggs since older eggs tend to have watery whites). Sprinkle salt and grind black pepper on each egg, and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the egg whites are set, but the yolk is still soft.

large pizza just before slicing and sprinkling on herb finish

Remove pizza from the oven, at this point, you can slide the parchment paper out from under the pizza.  Allow to set and cool slightly then slice and top with fresh herbs. Repeat with the second pizza.

Makes 2 large pizzas

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