[Photograph: Johnny Miller]

Alice Waters has built her reputation on simply prepared, fresher-than-fresh produce-based California cuisine. When Adam Roberts visited her in Berkeley while writing his Secrets of the Best Chefs, she spoke of salads and cheese tacos; but it was her Olive Oil Fried Eggs with a Crown of Herbs that left the greatest impression.

She gently fries up to six eggs at a time in an ample pool of olive oil showered with upwards of half a cup of chopped herbs. The eggs turn a bit crisp on the bottom, but stay velvety on top. Crusty, garlic rubbed bread is all that's needed to accompany the simple dish.

Why I picked this recipe: Besides a simple salad, nothing screams Alice Waters more than simple olive oil fried eggs with a mountain of fresh herbs.

What worked: A generous pour of olive oil leaves eggs supple and rich, and the bracing herb mix enlivens what would otherwise be fairly basic method for cooking eggs.

What didn't: Nothing; this is a great recipe to stick in my egg arsenal.

Suggested tweaks: You can use any type of herbs you'd like here (I used a mix of fennel fronds, carrot tops, arugula, and chervil). A little crushed red pepper would add pleasant heat, if you're into that sort of thing.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Secrets of the Best Chefs to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.


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