A font, like a perfume, is an intimate choice. It clings to your every word.

Once I considered myself the Courier type. The font imitates the typeface banged out on an IBM Selectric, the typewriter I lugged to college. Choosing Courier on a computer seemed sly. Then stale.

Scrolling the font tab, I paused at Helvetica. It put me in mind of fondue sets from Crate & Barrel, one of many logos spelled out in the popular font. I’m just not comfortable with the casual, sans-serif lifestyle.

I like a Roman alphabet, secured by shingles at the tops and bottoms of the letters. I tried highbrow Times New Roman. I tried screen-friendly Georgia. Then my friend Ellen, an actual type professional, introduced me to Garamond.

“You’re going to love her,” she enthused.

Garamond is elegant, compact, lightweight. The letters vary in width, giving each word crunchy contrast. I like Garamond. I don’t love her.

So I’m back to scrolling. I’m seeking a font that’s both crunchy and tender — one I don’t mind clinging to my every word.

This unusual technique produces an orb that’s fried-egg crunchy outside and poached-egg tender inside. Choose a heavy saucepan that affords at least 2 inches of headroom above the oil. You’ll also need a frying thermometer and a metal strainer with a handle.

Crunchy Fried Egg

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 minute

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, thinly shaved
  • 1 small shallot, slivered lengthwise
  • About 3 cups peanut oil
  • 1 egg

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with fennel and heap onto a plate.

Pile slivered shallots into a sieve with a handle. Crack the egg into a small cup with a handle. Line two plates with paper towels. Keep handy a timer, a wooden spoon and a slotted spoon.

Pour peanut oil into saucepan (see note above). Clip on the thermometer. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Lower in sieve. Fry shallots brown, about 1 minute. Pull out sieve and invert shallots onto paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.

Bring egg cup to the surface of oil and gently tip in egg. It will immediately begin to fry and puff up. If any white spreads out, use the wooden spoon to gather it back. After 40 seconds, use the wooden spoon to turn over the egg ball. Fry 10 seconds more. Scoop out the egg with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Set crunchy egg over fennel salad. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter on shallots. Dig in.

Makes 1 serving.

Recipe inspired by: “Eggs” by Michel Roux

Home on the Range is a Tribune News Service column by Leah Eskin, which offers “delicious essays and insightful recipes.”

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