[Recipe: Baked Eggs]
Oscar Wilde said it first, and we certainly hold the philosophy dear at my house: “An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.”
The ways of preparing eggs seem infinite, even beyond the typical fry/scramble/poach/boil (although, for Quinn, an egg well scrambled is the only egg worth putting her toast down for).
The egg’s a marvel, really, showing off its various textures and dimensions depending on how it’s cooked; the way it fluffs up or spreads itself thin; its very makeup, egg and yolk, individually distinct but harmonious.
And if you give it proper respect, an egg will do just about anything you want it to: bind or leaven, thicken or emulsify.
Or it can just be breakfast.
And sometimes a lovely dinner. That’s when, around here, eggs get to demonstrate their impressive talent of sidling up to almost anything — plant or animal — and giving it that melt-in-your-mouth quality.
Which is precisely what happens when you make baked eggs. Dishes like this go over well in my house, because they are custom built to the exacting specifications of each diner. I may not do the short-order cook thing, but I have no problem skipping the tomatoes for Emmie while doling out extra for Quinn. It’s all part of the adventure.
Makes 4 servings
adapted from Saveur
Firm whites, with yolks like velvet, joined with whatever sounds good in the moment. What more could you ask from an egg?
Ingredients: 8 large eggs, milk, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus whatever you uncover in the fridge: sliced tomatoes, cooked spinach, cooked bacon, smoked salmon, grated or crumbled cheese, chopped herbs (thyme, basil and parsley are all good)
Heat oven to broil and place rack 10″ from heat. Grease 4 8-oz gratin dishes. Place vegetables in the bottom of each dish (or in the dishes that will be served to those who want them). Make two wells in the center of each vegetable pile and crack the eggs into the wells. Pour 1 tbsp. milk into each dish. Top dishes with other ingredients: chopped bacon or smoked salmon, herbs, cheeses. Finish with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer dishes to the oven rack and broil until the cheese is golden brown, the egg whites are set and the yolks are still a bit soft, about 5 to 8 minutes.