One Dish, A Thousand Ways: The Breakfast Skillet

A Sourdough Cinnamon-Walnut Pinwheel Log
A Sourdough Cinnamon-Walnut Pinwheel Log I made.

At the beginning of my real food journey, I was really into sourdough. I mean, really into sourdough. I made everything sourdough. I made so much sourdough that I made things with sourdough that no one ever thinks to make with sourdough. Once I learned some tricks and gateway recipes from the Sourdough A to Z ebook at GNOWFGLINS (she has an eCourse on the subject as well!), I took off. Then it was all sourdough waffles, sourdough pancakes, sourdough english muffins, breakfast burritos made with my sourdough flour tortillas every. single. day. Yes, we were loving our sourdough.

It’s true that grains are more easily digested when they’ve been fermented (sourdough) or sprouted. These two ways of processing whole wheat, rye, emmer, kamut, einkorn, and other grains greatly reduce phytic acid which is bound up in the grains in order to protect them. Phytic acid steals important minerals like iron from your system in order to digest, thus robbing your body of vital nutrients. So if you’re going to eat real whole food and you’re going to eat grains, please ferment or sprout them. However, there are days in everyone’s busy life when you gotta say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” (couldn’t resist *chuckle*)

Some days it just doesn’t happen. Even though I may have a menu plan, even though my kids know how to take care of a starter, something goes awry and I am unable to prepare the night before, or something comes up and I don’t have time to wait for proofing before we run out of the door. On days like this, I turn to my loyal, unfailing friend the breakfast skillet.

Asparagus Bacon, Onion Breakfast Skillet
Asparagus, Bacon, Onion Breakfast Skillet cooking

Now there are countless renditions of such a magnificent dish. So many, in fact, that I don’t have time to go through them all here. But I will say this: All breakfast skillets should (not must, but should) begin with a base of seasonal veggies and pastured eggs. Yes, you could make one without eggs if you have an allergy. Where you go from there is only limited by your imagination. Try add ins such as bacon, sausage, salmon, leftovers from previous night’s dinner, cooked beans, cooked rice, seasonings, sauerkraut, fresh herbs, cheeses, sauces, need I say more? The egg can change as well. You can have scrambled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs or steamed (coddled) eggs in your skillet.

Lately, this is how my breakfast

skillet creations go:

1. Check produce on hand and select whatever veggies sound good that morning. Don’t be afraid to try ones you’ve never had for breakfast before! One of my favorite variations was made with brussel sprouts!

2. Chop said veggies and begin heating a medium cast iron skillet on low heat. Add in a tablespoon of fat of choice (lard, tallow, coconut oil, ghee). We typically use virgin coconut oil for this, but not everyone likes the taste. You could always use expeller pressed coconut oil if you don’t.

3. Add any meat to the skillet (if using) and saute a minute. You could also add in other solid mix-ins like beans or leftovers at this point. Also, this is a good time to add spices if using.

4. Add in vegetables. Saute veggies for a few minutes. This part is tricky. You have to be careful not to overcook the veggies here as they will continue to cook after you add the eggs, so keep that in mind.

5. Crack in enough eggs for the family. Put a lid on the skillet and let the eggs cook until desired doneness. This is my favorite way to do it, steamed (also called coddled). You can choose to scramble first if you want, but this way is easier, which is kinda what we’re going for in this recipe. I coddle the eggs for about 3-4 minutes to keep the yolks runny, but cook the whites.

6. Meanwhile, while eggs cook look for herbs to add and other toppings. Lacto-ferments are great here. Also cheese, tamari, crispy nuts/seeds, yogurt, sour cream, and avocado.

7. Scoop portions out and serve with your toppings.

My favorite skillet combo last month was shredded brussel sprouts, caramelized onions, garlic, coddled pastured eggs, cayenne pepper and butter.

What would be your favorite breakfast skillet combo?