Sunday, January 11, 2015

My "Fancy" Breakfast

It's not really fancy.  It just feels that way when you get a taste of it!  Ever tried baked eggs?  I don't remember where I first read about them, but I've been experimenting with all sorts of baked egg recipes over the last year or so, and it's become one of my favorite leisurely weekend breakfasts.

Baked eggs are all about layering.  And good cheese.  I recommend using smoked Gouda or smoked Gruyere, along with the king of cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Alright, first things first.  I always start my baked eggs with some kind of leafy green.  Either spinach, swiss chard, or kale.  I find myself starting so many meals in this way, and the baked eggs are no exception:  good extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic (either a dried spice variety or fresh - when I use a dry spice I use Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic Seasoning Blend that someone gave me as a gift.  It's pretty good)

Once I get the pan heated up with the olive oil and spices, I wilt the greens over medium heat, and add just a splash of either white wine or chicken broth and cook it off at the very end for flavor.  Depending on what I have on hand, I'll add onions or peppers to the greens, too.  I've also added very thinly sliced mushrooms or shallots.  Whatever's in the fridge!

Kale, yellow peppers & onions

Meanwhile, you'll want to butter your ramekins.  I know it's not a standard kitchen accessory, but they actually come in surprisingly handy - I've used them often.  If you don't have any ramekins, you could also use a muffin tin.  Once the veggies are done and the ramekins are buttered, pile all the veggies in.

Then, just layer it up!  On top of the veggies, you'll want to add your cheese, and I like to add a little dollop of Greek yogurt here, too.  Like I mentioned before, a quality smoked cheese and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano work well.  I also sprinkle a little bacon bits or fresh bacon crumbles on top of the cheese.  Because, duh.

Next up is to crack the egg.  Grate a little more Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, along with salt and pepper & you're ready for the oven.

Left: Veggies in the buttered ramekin         Right:  Egg ready to go in the oven

Pop your eggs into the oven on 400 for about 12 minutes.  The goal is to have set whites and a runny yolk.  This probably won't be your cup of tea if you're not into egg yolk.  But if you are, I'm telling you, this is such a flavorful breakfast!  So much going on with the greens, cheese and yolk.

I usually serve it with either a toasted crusty bread if I have it, or whole wheat toast or English muffin.  It looks pretty when you take it out of the oven, but I like to mix it all up inside the ramekin to get all the flavors and yolk all melded together.  I top little bits of the mixture onto my toast and it's fabulous.

C'mon!  You know want to give some fancy breakfast a try!

Ta-ta for now.

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