Baked eggs, a month ago I hardly knew ye, and in such a short time, you’ve made yourself such a well-worn indispensible part of the family. No guest, you’re here to stay.
I’ve been wanting to make Baked Eggs after reading Laurie Colwin’s description in Home Cooking (here’s a whole post I did about that book). So basically I’ve had Baked Eggs on the brain for years now, and only this very month did I finally settle in to the task. Not very ambitious, I know. But necessary.
It was in a Chapter called, Nursery Food (aka Comfort Food). In these dark days of February, I’ve been in need of some. Plus, I’ve been looking for a good excuse to buy some of those Le Creuset mini oval gratins. They look like gratin dishes for dolls. I came home with five of them, one for each member of my family.
Baked (or Shirred) Eggs are one of those non-recipe recipes. It’s kind of embarrassing that I’m even posting about it. But this is no smittenkitchen, folks. (Holy time on your hands, did you see the latest homemade lasagna recipe with homemade pasta sheets and bechamel sauce and Bolognese that you cook and assemble over days? That is a recipe I loved to read but will never make. I am a huge fan of all that Deb does over at smittenkitchen. Inspiring food writing + food photography. She just nails it over there).
While there are long leisurely weekends for taking on a cooking project that requires so very many pans, these days, I need easy. I need reassurance. Cheerful, even. Baked eggs are that.
Here are Colwin’s directions:
“The Pyrex dish is put in the oven to hotten up. When hot, a lump of butter the size of a walnut (as the old cookbooks say) is dropped in to melt. When the butter is just slightly sizzling, break in the eggs, never more than four. Sprinkle with black pepper and Parmesan but no salt, as the Parmesan is salty enough. Cover and bake in a 325 degree oven until done. Done can mean just cooked, or pink around the edges of the yolks, or baked to the consistency of a rubber eraser–some children like eggs this way. Baked eggs, though, have to be watched.”
A few notes on what I did. I tried to get all fancy and tried baking the dishes in a water bath as I saw recommended someplace. I’ve done it both ways and say skip the trouble. They seem to turn out the same. Also I went with salt instead of the cheese, but imagine the cheese would be worthwhile, too. And I used a spray oil on the dish before dropping the eggs in, and a pat of butter on top.
These always take longer to cook than I think they will. If you’re in a rush, go scrambled. But if you’ve got a little time (and some ramekins or mini Pyrex dishes), baking adds a little extra something. I have eaten these for breakfast and lunch and could also see coming home to them for dinner after a long cold and rainy day and being very, very happy.