Eggs for dinner

[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.”

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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.

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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.

Baked Eggs

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.

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sandie said,

    I love eggs of all kinds. While I don’t eat them everyday, they are perfect for any meal and so highly adaptable.

  2. 2

    Jude said,

    Mmm. I love refrigerator velcro recipes like this. Somehow eggs are always involved in such recipes.

  3. 3

    Elisa said,

    Intriguing! The great thing about the versatility of eggs is if you don’t particularly like them one way, there’s always another method that might be a winner! This is cool; thanks for sharing!

  4. 4

    Alex said,

    The way that the albumen turns from clear to white never ceases to amaze me!

  5. 5

    Trisha said,

    Sandie: Eggs are perfect for every meal. You can’t say that about most foods.

    Jude: “Refrigerator velcro” — I like that!

    Elisa: Versatility is definitely one of the egg’s finer qualities.

    Alex: I think it’s that amazing transformation — of eggs and all other foods — that is one of my favorite things about cooking.

  6. 6

    rich said,

    Very simple and very flexible – I can see that with roasted red peppers and caramelised onions, maybe a little garlic, some chilli, an anchovie or two?

    I must admit that I simply couldn’t function without eggs. Years ago, there was a health scare here in the UK over salmonella, and later another scare about cholesterol. Both rubbish – eggs are high in protein, healthy and so versatile adn useful it’s almost incomprehensible.

  7. 7

    Trisha said,

    Rich: Utter rubbish, I’m with you. Love your variation — great flavor & texture combinations going on there.


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