Dine & Dish

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Think outside the cereal box at the breakfast table

The breakfast table is where many families gather on weekend mornings to start their days with a hearty meal and some equally hearty conversation. Families who have grown tired of cereal or scrambled eggs can forgo traditional breakfast fare in favor of something a little more flavorful and unique, such as the following recipe for "Pan-Fried Eggs and Mixed Mushroom Saute on Toasted Sourdough Slices" from Betty Rosbottom's "Sunday Brunch" (Chronicle Books).

Pan-Fried Eggs and Mixed Mushroom Saute on Toasted Sourdough Slices

Serves 4

Mushroom Saute

11/4    ounces mixed dried mushrooms

11/2    cups boiling water

3    tablespoons olive oil

8    ounces sliced brown mushrooms

2    teaspoons minced garlic

1    teaspoon dried crushed rosemary

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Toast and Eggs

4    1/2-inch-thick sourdough slices, halved if the slices are extra large

2    tablespoons unsalted butter

4    eggs

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)

1. For the Mushroom Saute: Place the dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let stand until softened, 20 minutes. Strain in a sieve lined with a double thickness of paper towels and reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy frying pan set over medium heat. When hot, add the brown mushrooms and saute, stirring often, for 6 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir for 1 minute. Add the mushroom liquid and cook, stirring until it has evaporated, 4 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and several grinds of pepper. Remove the frying pan from the heat and cover with foil to keep warm. (The mushrooms can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring, over medium heat.)

3. For the toast and eggs: Brush both sides of the bread slices generously with olive oil. Set a 10- to 11-inch by 25- to 28-centimeter nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the bread and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the toast and cover loosely with foil. When the pan is cool enough to handle, wipe it out with clean paper towels.

4. Add the butter to the frying pan and set it over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, break an egg into a saucer, being careful to remove any shell fragments, and gently slide it into the frying pan. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook, basting the eggs with some of the butter in the pan frequently, until the whites are firm and the yolks are still soft and runny, 3 minutes.

5. While the eggs are cooking, arrange a toasted bread slice on each of four plates. Mound the mushrooms evenly over the toast.

6. Remove each egg with a spatula and arrange on top of the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and, if desired, garnish each serving with a rosemary sprig. Serve immediately.

Cooking note: If you can't find dried crushed rosemary, crush regular dried rosemary in an electric spice mill, or place it in a self-sealing plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin.