Snow days are great for many reasons, one of which is the opportunity for a weekday breakfast at home. Usually my Monday to Friday breakfasts consist of whole rolled oats, cinnamon, sliced banana, and some raw almonds. It might sound boring, but somehow I never get sick of oatmeal, and it always keeps me full until lunch – a no brainer!
But this past Thursday, mother nature decided to slam us with yet another winter storm, and the resulting inches of snow meant an extra hour or so of sleep for most of us, who were able to work remotely from the comfort of our own couches. It also meant morning access to more than just a microwave and hot water spigot for concocting breakfast; an actual stove, oven, and fresh ingredients were available. Let’s face it – what more reason do you need to mix up your typical breakfast routine?
Eggs are always a staple in my diet, whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Few things are as simple, fresh, and filling as a well-prepared egg, be it poached, fried, or scrambled, and I’m constantly searching for new ways to make eggs outside of the typically “sunny-side-up on toast” stand-by.
Enter the Baked Egg. I came across this concept while perusing my weekly slew of food blogs and articles, casually dropping into one blogger’s dialogue as though this weren’t a completely revelationary food concept. Sure, we all make eggs on the stove top regularly, and baking them into other dishes is pretty standard. But baked eggs alone? Somehow this concept had never even occurred to me, but I was instantly intrigued. When my snow day breakfast opportunity rolled around, I quickly skimmed the internet for some basics on baked eggs, and then got to work.
What follows is a recipe for baked eggs, and yes, you’ll need a cupcake tin. Ramekins would work, too. While was my first endeavor into the world of baked eggs, it will certainly not be the last, and though I’m happy to provide the specifics of how I prepared mine, a baked egg is really a blank canvas for a variety of flavor palettes. You could go Tex-Mex, or mediterranean, or minimalist, or sweet-and-savory. Like an omelet, this dish allows you to satisfy any craving by incorporating you favorite ingredients while still enjoying a rich, savory, and filling favorite – the egg!
Parmesan Baked Eggs with Peppers and Thyme (Serves 2 – 3)
Get yourself set up with the following ingredients:
- 6 whole eggs
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Non-stick cooking spray or butter for greasing the cupcake tin
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
To start, prepare your base for the baked egg – in this case, a saute of red peppers, onions, and fresh thyme. This is going to go in the base of the cupcake tin, and the egg will go over it. You can really use anything here – hash browns, chopped up sausage and peppers, a pancake or english muffin round – you get to choose! I was trying to keep things fairly healthy on this Thursday, so I went with the fresh veggies (but cheese on top, so obviously not too healthy).
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the chopped peppers and onions and saute, stirring often, for about five minutes or until soft. Add the thyme, as well as sea salt and pepper to taste, and saute until fragrant – another 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat.
Once your cupcake tins are greased, put a small spoonful of the “base mixture” in the bottom of each round, and press it down so it just covers the bottom of the tin in a thin layer. You want to leave enough room in the tin so that the egg will rest evenly, without the yolks rising up above the egg white. Then, crack an egg into each round (or into a bowl first, if you are worried about shells). I’m sure this would be just as delicious if you scrambled the eggs first, sort of like a mini-quiche, but I left mine whole.
Then, into the oven these go for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the whites are puffy but the yolks are still bright yellow and a bit runny. I yanked them out of the oven about 5 minutes before they were done and sprinkled each egg with a little parmesan cheese, and then popped them back in the oven to finish cooking. The cheese formed a salty, crunchy topping to the fluffy egg and savory peppers-and-onions base, and it all came together nicely with a little fresh thyme sprinkled on top.
Just like a fried or poached egg, this was great over an english muffin. The baked egg has the same light, fluffy interior of a poached egg, but with the crispy exterior of a fried egg. Not to mention, it doesn’t get much easier than crack egg, bake egg, eat egg. Wanna bet? Give it a shot, and get back to me