Soft-Boiled Eggs with Za’atar and Avocado

20th March 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

“I eat soft-boiled eggs at least once or twice a week. At Le Bal we serve them with a sort of gentleman’s relish[footnote]”Anchovies, garlic, bit of Worcester sauce and some oil blitzed up into a paste – it’s really good” [/footnote] but at home we often have them with za’atar, sliced avocados and sourdough bread with good butter. Soft-boiled eggs are really easy but it’s important to get all the little details right.”
Alice Quillet, chef, Paris


Alice made her bread using a Chad Robertson recipe which is too long and detailed to reproduce here. You’ll find it in Robertson’s baking bible Tartine Bread.

Serves 4


4 medium organic free-range eggs
Za’atar herb mix
Extra virgin olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
Togarashi spice mix (or chilli flakes)
A loaf of sourdough bread


Bring a pan of water to a hard boil[footnote]”Martha Stewart puts eggs in a saucepan of cold water, brings it up to a boil and then turns off the heat but I think it’s better to boil the water first” [/footnote]. Put the eggs in gently so they don’t knock off the pan or each other – often I’ll rest them on a big serving spoon to hold them in place. Boil them without reducing the heat for 4½ minutes: that’s how long it takes if your eggs are medium-large.

Meanwhile, add a few glugs of olive oil to the za’atar to turn it into a thick dressing. Slice the avocado thinly and sprinkle with togarashi. Slice the bread, which should be served cold[footnote]”There’s still a lot of moisture inside the bread when it comes out of the oven and you want to let it evaporate. I normally don’t eat bread straight away. The flavours develop a bit more after a few days. Bread is a living thing, I hate it when people put their bread in the fridge or wrap it up in clingfilm. It’s meant to evolve. If it’s good bread made with a natural levain, it should last a long time.”

[/footnote] – personally I prefer bread when it’s a day old.

Serve the eggs in eggcups along with the za’atar, avocado, bread and some good butter[footnote]Alice uses Beurre d’Échiré from the west of France [/footnote]. Other things you might want on the table: a jar of Marmite (because you can’t really have soft-boiled eggs without Marmite) and a pot of freshly brewed coffee.

Anselme brewed his coffee using a Chemex. Watch this short video for exact instructions:

Posted 20th March 2015

In Recipes


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin