As a recent college graduate, completely overwhelmed conceptually and financially by the recipes in an abridged version of a Julia Child cookbook, I was thrilled to learn that Julia didn't always fuss with sauces and souffles either: She apparently liked to make a lunch of a hard-boiled egg, cold asparagus, tuna fish and mayonnaise, which sounded compatible with my kitchen abilities and budget. As I recall, I overcooked the egg.
At his restaurant named for another culinary giant, Ethan Stowell does right by the simplicity and sophistication of the Child-endorsed combination. While soft-boiled eggs serve as Stowell's edible byline, appearing in various guises at his restaurants across the city, my favorite preparation is the bisected egg with greens, pecorino and bacon served at How to Cook a Wolf.
The soft-boiled egg is served fridge cold, halved so its bright orange yolk spills over the plate. The yolk fuses with a pool of rich anchovy mayonnaise, flexing with all the brine the tender egg requires. Turns out the mustardy mayo is equally good on the skeins of frisee and split asparagus spears crossing the plate. And although the mayo's already rocking with umami, the salad's finished with shards of nutty pecorino and bits of smoky bacon.
After my disappointing hard-boiled egg, I temporarily quit taking cooking advice from Julia Child. But I'm eternally grateful to her for inadvertently teaching me that the best meals aren't always found at home.