January 27, 2013

Baked Eggs Are the Best Eggs

I went to a diner for breakfast yesterday, and it was alright. The bacon was almost as crispy as I wanted it (which was extra crispy), and the coffee featured that nice little soupçon of dishwater flavor that only diner coffee can provide. But the eggs. I ordered an omelet and got about halfway through before I stopped being able to ignore the fact that the eggs were definitely from a creepy giant industrial mix. The edges of the omelet were tough and rubbery, and, if it wasn't for the cream cheese inside the omelet and my extreme hunger, I wouldn't even have made it halfway.

So I devoted this morning's breakfast to making eggs that I would enjoy the whole time. Wanting to use up a weirdly small amount of leftover tomato and ricotta sauce that had been taunting me from the fridge, I decided to go with baked eggs (also known as shirred eggs).

If you've never tried baked eggs, let me give you a few reasons to do so. First, baking eggs produces a better texture than any other method. Think fried without the grease, poached without the residual cooking water, and soft-boiled without the nuisance of a shell. Second, they are a vehicle for literally anything you want to add--caramelized onion, ham, sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, spinach, cheese, kalamata olives, mushrooms...you get the point. Third, they provide a purpose for those adorable little ramekins or soup crocks that you never get around to using otherwise.

To make Baked Eggs, start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. You'll need as many ramekins/crocks/other oven-safe dishes as you have people.

Starting with about a tablespoon of olive oil or melted butter, two tablespoons of milk, and salt and pepper, add any extra ingredients you'd like to each ramekin.

Crack one egg into each ramekin, and bake them all on a cookie sheet for about twelve minutes, or until the whites have just set (the ramekins' heat will continue to cook the eggs even after they're out of the oven, so aim for slightly underdone).

Garnish with cheese, fresh herbs or greens, or more salt and pepper, and serve, preferably with a piece of toast to help you scoop up all of the eggy goodness.

Because they're already individually portioned and their presentation is far and away more beautiful than a giant bowl of scrambled eggs, baked eggs are a great option to serve when you're hosting breakfast or brunch. Obviously, they're also great when you're on your own, and you just want to remember what a good egg tastes like.

No comments:

Post a Comment