Eggs Goldenrod is an old-school recipe. Near as I can tell, it first appears in print in the 1896 “Boston Cooking School Cookbook” by Fannie Merritt Farmer as Eggs ala Goldenrod. The classic rendition was a simple thin white sauce with the finely chopped whites of hard boiled eggs mixed in, served over toast points, with the yolks crumbled over the top¹. A variation on the simple Creamed Eggs on Toast, the recipe was commonly taught in Home Economics classes across the country in the early 1900s. As the recipe entered households across the country the name changed here and there, the recipe altered slightly by personal taste and cultural affinity. In the south, biscuits replaced the toast. Out west, the thin white sauce often became a thicker sausage gravy. And in many homes, the process of separating and “dusting” the egg yolks was just too fussy so everything was chopped up and tossed in together.
My great-grandmother learned this recipe early on and used to make it when family was over. Somehow, I never got to have her Eggs Goldenrod and she stopped cooking several years back as her eyesight started to decline (she is very nearly 100 years old now). She was the kind of cook that never really followed a recipe and always eyeballed ingredients as she cooked. Something that has made it incredibly difficult to replicate her recipes exactly. But I’ve tried to piece it together based on those who have eaten her version.
First off, her version started with biscuits. My great-grandmother was known for her biscuits. She made simple southern-style biscuits with flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, and buttermilk then dipped them in canola oil before baking so they would be flaky and soft on the inside and crisp on the outside². These became the base for her Eggs Goldenrod.
Grandma Compton also added meat to her gravy. From what it sounds like, she would add whatever meat she might have on hand including leftovers. My sister-in-law has had her Eggs Goldenrod and recalls that there would be ham, sausage, and sometimes bacon in the gravy. So what was traditionally a light sauce with eggs over toast, became a stick-to-your-ribs hearty meat gravy over biscuits in the Compton house.
Putting all this outside information together, I gave the recipe my best shot.
- 3 Hard boiled eggs
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- ½ tsp Salt
- pepper to taste
- sausage, ham, or bacon
- Parsley (optional)
- Prepare biscuits (This is the recipe I use https://modernsteader.com/crumbly-southern-biscuits/).
- Hard boil the eggs and set aside to cool and shell.
- Separate egg whites from yolks. Set yolks aside.
- Chop up egg whites (I rough chop egg whites to keep a rustic feel and to add texture). Set aside.
- In a warm skillet, melt butter add flour and stir until smooth.
- Slowly add milk and continue stirring over medium heat until smooth and beginning to thicken.
- Add salt and pepper to the sauce (taste to get the seasoning right) and reduce heat.
- Add egg whites and any meats to the sauce and continue stirring gently. Stirring too much at this point may thicken the sauce too much so take it easy.
- Halve a biscuit and place on the plate. Pour the gravy mixture over the biscuit.
- Force the yolks through a strainer with the back of a spoon and sprinkle over the top of the gravy.
- Finished with finely chopped parsley and serve.
I’m sure this is NOT exactly authentic to my great-grandmother’s cooking. In my efforts to represent this recipe I combined the process of the original 1896 recipe with what I have gathered of my great-grandmother’s version. My hope is that I am able to make this for her someday and get her personal feedback on how close I actually hit the mark.
- Referring to the “crumbling” of the egg yolks is an oversimplification. The original process was to force the cooked yolks through a strainer so that they would “crumble” uniformly and delicately creating a visually appealing topping. This is all about presentation, but it is key to its name. The name “Goldenrod” is supposedly in reference to how much the yolks resemble the bloom of the Goldenrod flower when prepared this way.
- My Great-grandmother’s biscuit recipe is a mystery to almost everyone in the family. The fact that she never wrote down her recipe, and never followed one to begin with, made it impossible to replicate. Combine that with the fact that she never really measured anything either, and even those that watched her make them can’t seem to get it right. Other family members have often used Bisquick to make her “recipe” for biscuits, but her recipe and process would have predated Bisquick which came on the market in 1930. I have been told by my aunt Carolyn that my great-grandmother used a mixture of flour, baking powder, and salt (no baking soda) in her biscuits. She also would have used shortening instead of butter as the fat.