Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baked Eggs

Sat 8 Sept 2007

See - I said I was behind with the posts! September's AGT has a large feature on brunch dishes, but we're rarely organised enough to sort out a proper meal before lunch time, so one of these recipes, baked eggs with creamed spinach and gruyère toasts, was co-opted as a quick weekend supper dish. I have always been a little suspicious about the idea of baked eggs: you seem to have very little control over them once they go in the oven.

My doubts were cast aside by the quick and easy nature of the recipe - and this is my interpretation of it.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat some olive oil and butter in a frying pan and add some sliced onion and chopped garlic. Cook until soft and then add plenty of spinach. Wilt the spinach and then tip the mixture into a colander or sieve and press to extract the liquid. Process in a food processor with plenty of pepper and salt (and nutmeg, if you have some) and add some crème fraîche. Divide the mix amongst your ramekins.

Crack an egg into each ramekin and top with a little extra crème fraîche and ground pepper. I baked the eggs for about 15 minutes and I thought they were over-done - but the recipe suggests baking for 20-25 minutes. Either my oven is very efficient or I like my eggs less cooked than the average person. The problem is, as I expected, that once the eggs go in the oven how do you tell how done they are?!

As we had no gruyère, we made cheddar and parmesan toasts. Combine grated cheese of your choice with crème fraîche and mustard, season and then spread over toasted bread before finishing under the grill.
The verdict? We liked the toasts (well, it's grilled cheese on toast, how could you not like it?), but we thought the eggs needed work (and less cooking). The original recipe topped the eggs not with crème fraîche but with a mixture of cream and tarragon vinegar which might have been preferable, as the eggs ended up looking a little unattractive. I thought that an even cleverer idea might have been to make a nest for the egg in the spinach and then top with cream (or some crème fraîche let down with vinegar). Unfortunately, the experience hasn't really inspired me to experiment on the baked egg front. There are so many good (and fool proof) ways to deal with eggs that baking them, like hard boiling them, seems a bit of a waste!

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Blogger kaley said...

my husband LOVES baked eggs - but it is hit and miss. we usually let them go in a fairly hot oven (gas mark 6) for 15 minutes. and yes, we use the less-fuss nest-in-the-spinach (raw spinach - baby for maximum tenderness) but also add cheese, mushrooms, and whatever veg is hanging around the kitchen, some cracked black pepper and poss some oregano or basil; topped with egg, and keep checking after the 15 minute mark - it can take up to 20. we found the initial recipe in a collection of gastro-porn that I just had to have (for the pictures)by donna hay.

5:51 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Hmm, it sounds like maybe we should try again ... but, for breakfast, I really really love scrambled eggs (preferably with smoked salmon and champagne, but sometimes you have to slum it!) and Andy loves fried eggs. And for dinner - well, a frittata or an omelette never goes astray ...

9:03 pm  
Blogger kaley said...

nasser wonders about putting a cover on them for the first little bit - which would steam the eggs rather than 'bake' them at the beginning - and prevent drying out. Eggs are my nemesis in the food world - I love them in fritata, omlette, tortilla, just not in glorious solitude - tho in Broughton-on-Furness I had amazing scrambled eggs at the B&B we were at (the Artist's Studios perhaps? something similar anyway) - made from eggs from next door and loads of fresh cream - divine.

12:16 pm  

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