Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Herbed-Baked Eggs

For many months, while our schedules would allow, Aaron's sister, Amy, would come over for brunch (by the time we got going it was pretty much just lunch) and we would feast together like the old chums that we are. Amy would often bring a bottle of sparkling wine and juice and I would prepare brunch. I first made this recipe on one such occasion and we all loved it so much I find myself making it all the time. The eggs are wonderfully savory and covered in beautifully browned and bubbly cheese.

I'm always left with various herbs from the previous night's cooking, so this dish is a great way to use them up. This recipe comes from Ina Garten, and as she states on her show, it's a wonderful alternative to omelettes. Cooking omelettes for a crowd will have you stuck in the kitchen and prevent you from spending time with your friends and family at the table, which is where you should be! These baked eggs can all be made at once, finish at the same time, and won't keep you glued to the stove.

I usually only use two eggs per person in the gratin dishes, but you could certainly increase it to three. I find two to be sufficient, especially if you have other side dishes prepared. Also, if you have guests who don't care for eggs over easy, simply add the herb and cheese mixture to scrambled eggs and cook them on the stovetop while the others are baking in the oven. Either way, they taste delicious.  

Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris

1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1/4 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
4 extra-large eggs (see notes below)
2 tbsp. heavy cream (see notes below)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 individual sized gratin dishes (6 inches in diameter)- See notes below

Preheat broiler for at least 5 minutes and place oven rack 6-inches below the heat (if your broiler doesn't allow you to adjust the rack and is closer to the flame, reduce the cooking time by about 2 minutes). 

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan in a small bowl and set aside. Crack 2 eggs into each of 2 small bowls being careful not to break the yolks. 

Place the 2 gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Put 1 tbsp. of cream and 1/2 tbsp. butter into each dish and place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Carefully pour 2 eggs into each gratin dish and season liberally with salt and pepper. Evenly sprinkle the eggs with the herb and cheese mixture and place under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the whites are almost cooked and the cheese begins to brown (rotate the pan once if they aren't cooking evenly). Remember, the eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to rest for a minute and serve hot with toasted bread. 

  • You can find personal sized gratin dishes at your local kitchen supply store. They cost about three dollars and I use them to make a variety of mini gratins all the time.  
  • Feel free to use 3 eggs instead of 2, especially if you aren't serving any side dishes with the eggs.
  • You can double the recipe and still fit 4 gratin dishes on one sheet pan. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. 
  • Substitute the heavy cream for light cream or half and half if desired.
  • I've used whatever herbs I have on hand (even scallions) and this dish is still excellent.

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