Pictured: Baked Eggs with Kale, Portobellos and Feta recipe from CHOW
Forget breakfast for dinner. You don't need a side of pancakes or sausage patties to rationalize an egg-centric meal. And forget about most of the obvious brunch-y egg dishes you think of when you think "eggs for dinner." These recipes go beyond scrambled and quiche, and demonstrate just how versatile the mighty egg can be. Hearty, healthy last-minute meals whipped up from the random contents of your refrigerator? Yep. Recipes that show off the fresh yard eggs you scored at the farmers market? Those, too. And, although it wasn't easy, we're delivering it all without a single bad pun involving the word "egg".
1. Warm Fava Bean and Chanterelle Salad with Poached Eggs
If Hannibal Lecter's revelatory meal is your only frame of reference for fava beans ("I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti"), get thee to the best produce market in your environs. Late spring/early summer is fava bean primetime, and when you pair the buttery, vaguely bitter bean (say that 10 times really fast) with the richness of a runny-yolked poached egg, it's heaven on a plate. Get our Warm Fava Bean and Chanterelle Salad with Poached Eggs recipe.
2. Eggs in Purgatory
If you're an Israeli (or just eat like one), you may know this spicy baked eggs dish as the breakfast favorite shakshuka. But it's also one of the best ways to rationalize eggs for dinner–a one-skillet recipe with a touch of heat. This is a great starter recipe, but you'll end up customizing it with your own favorite seasonings as you master it. I like to add a dash of cumin to the tomato sauce and top the dish with a scattering of feta. Get our Eggs in Purgatory recipe.
3. Egg Yolk Ravioli (Uova da Ravioli) with Bacon Sage Sauce
This is definitely not one of those last-minute dishes that ends in a randomly delicious hodge-podge of eggs creatively reimagined with weird stuff in your refrigerator. This is a plan-ahead dish that you make when your end goal is to see your dining companion naked. Because, after you serve this wonder dish, you most definitely will. The recipe serves six appetizer portions (one ginormous ravioli per person), but you can also serve this as a main course with two raviolis per person and leftovers for a midnight snack. Get our Egg Yolk Ravioli with Bacon Sage Sauce recipe.
4. Wilted Greens with Balsamic Fried Eggs
If you're a CSA subscriber, now is about the time your weekly basket is filled with a mother lode of greens that 1) you've never heard of or seen before, or 2) you can't possibly consume before you get next week's delivery. This is how you handle those greens, on those weeknights when you desperately need to eat a decent meal at home and you're winging it with whatever you've got on hand. If you're really lucky, that CSA includes fresh eggs from the farm, too. Get our Wilted Greens with Balsamic Fried Eggs recipe.
5. Salade Lyonnaisey
You can slam a poached egg on top of just about anything edible and call it dinner, but this recipe makes the cut because it's a cinch to pull it all together with ingredients you should always have on hand (yes, that includes pancetta), and the light, simple dressing packs so much more flavor than you'd ever imagine. Get our Salade Lyonnaisey recipe.
6. Baked Eggs with Kale, Portobellos and Feta
This is the kind of dish you can easily scale down to make as a solo meal or scale up to include unexpected company. There's little to it beyond toasting breadcrumbs, wilting the kale, and assembling the ingredients. Also, if you're counting calories, you can easily cut some of the fat by substituting olive oil for butter and low fat milk for heavy cream. Get our Baked Eggs with Kale, Portobellos and Feta recipe.
7. Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Miso Butter
Mark my words: this is the recipe that will convince you that white miso paste should be a staple in your kitchen. It is the lighter, more mellow variety of miso (it's fermented for a shorter period of time and not as salty), but even the mild, delicate flavor packs a wallop that elevates the simplest ingredients to another dimension of taste bud euphoria. Get our Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Miso Butter recipe.
8. Asparagus Frittata with Horseradish Sour Cream
Frittatas have a rep as the go-to for brunch, but if you're looking for a last-minute eggs-for-dinner dish to feed more than your own face, this one has all the elements of a grownup meal for four or more, particularly if you add a side of lightly dressed mixed greens. Get our Asparagus Frittata with Horseradish Sour Cream recipe.
9. Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs and Avocado Crema
Although you can throw this dish together in less than 30 minutes, pretty much any dish involving beans benefits from a day of rest to let the beans soak up the flavor of the seasonings. This dish is no exception. Make the black bean cakes a day head, and when you're ready for dinner, just whip up the avocado crema while the cakes reheat, and slap a fried egg on top. Dinner is served. Get our Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs and Avocado Crema recipe.
10. Egg Salad Gribiche
The classic French cold sauce meets classic 'Murican cold salad with excellent results. Hard-cooked eggs are tossed with capers, cornichon, and a bundle of fresh herbs. Serve it on a roasted veggie sandwich or scoop it onto your favorite crackers. Get our Egg Salad Gribiche recipe.
11. Persian Baked Eggs (Kuku)
Don't let the name intimidate you. This is basically a frittata. The recipe makes good use of spices you definitely have in your spice cabinet, but probably never use in this unusual combination. You can shortcut a little if you happen to have advieh, a Persian spice, on hand. Get our Persian Baked Eggs recipe.
12. Savory Egg Pudding
Normally, we'd call this what it is: a frittata. But this recipe produces a richer, creamier egg dish that's more custard-like than quiche. Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes razor thin. Get our Savory Egg Pudding recipe.
13. Steak and Eggs Hash
Yes, of course you think of this dish as a classic greasy diner breakfast, but when, exactly, is the last time you slapped a New York strip steak on the grill (pan) at 7 a.m.? This is dinner for 4 in less than 30 minutes, and you'll never hear a complaint. Get our Steak and Eggs Hash recipe.
Colleen Rush is a food and travel writer who eats, drinks, cooks, and writes mostly in New Orleans, but also ... everywhere else. She is the author of "The Mere Mortal's Guide to Fine Dining" (Broadway Books, 2006), and coauthor of "Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons" (Running Press, 2009) and the upcoming "Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke Roasting, and Basic Curing" (Running Press, 2015). Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.