Herb Baked Eggs
There’s something about the transition from fall to winter that makes me feel like nesting. You know — cozying up inside with a warm blanket, sitting by the fire (how nice it is for us to have a fireplace in this house, even if it is the kind you can just turn on with the flip of a switch), slowing down a bit, and most of all, cooking things that are warming and comforting. Our daily hot chocolate intake has really ramped up, the mulling spices are back out and in use for mugs of hot cider, and when I feel up to it, I’ve been making soups on the weekend for us to eat during the week. Brian is on a bread-baking kick with the no-knead bread, and the smell of warm bread baking in the oven just adds to my nesting feeling.
One of the things I find I want to do more often during this time of year is make good, warm things for breakfast on the weekend. Nothing too complicated, but a nice treat and change from our weekday routine. I’ve been wanting to try the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Herb-Baked Eggs for some time now, and finally got around to it today. It was yummy — eggs that are somewhere in texture around poached, maybe a little more cooked, and topped with a mixture of parsley, thyme, rosemary, Parmesan cheese and garlic. I only started liking poached eggs within the past few years*, but now they’re one of my favorite breakfast dishes. So anyway, this dish of baked, kind-of-poached eggs, served with some crusty toasted bread, was a nice addition to the warm weekend breakfast rotation.
*I have a theory as to why I did not like poached eggs until recently. When I was young I had an audio book called Bread and Jam for Frances, which told the story of a little badger who decides that bread and jam are all she wants to eat. She makes up little poems about the foods she dislikes, including the following: “poached eggs on toast/why do you shiver/with such a funny/little quiver.” I can still hear her little voice in my head, and the idea — when I was young — of shivering, quivering poached eggs on toast never held much appeal.Adapted from Ina Garten’s book Barefoot in Paris.
1 small minced garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted crusty bread, for serving
Equipment: 2 individual gratin dishes
Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won’t be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. You should have all these ingredients ready to go before cooking.
Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Open the oven, quickly but carefully pull out the baking sheet and pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish, and sprinkle each dish with the herb mixture. Season generously with kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper. Place the baking sheet back in the oven, under the broiler, for another 4-6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are set (you really should stand close by the oven and watch carefully — I found mine cooked in about 5 minutes, and I had to rotate the baking sheet once to ensure they’d cook evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Let the eggs set for 1 minute before serving. Serve hot with toasted bread to dip.
Makes 2 servings.