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Baked Eggs or Shirred Eggs

With the sound of snowplows serenading me as I arose from my slumber this morning, I realized my first meal of the day should be something a little bit more than the usual. I knew that I wasn’t going to be trekking up and down a snowy, and likely unplowed, hill to go to the bagel place. After being called on doing it by my sister, I now get the guilts if I even think about trying to get them to deliver my breakfast to me.

Fortunately, I had dragged myself out to do errands yesterday when it was still freezing cold outside but not yet snowing. I went and got milk, eggs, and some smoked salmon. I knew that I had plenty of bread in the freezer and coffee in the cupboard. Later, while waiting for the skies to start to turn white on Saturday, I caught up on my on-line reading of the New York Times and came across Mark Bittman’s video cooking segment on Baked Eggs with Proscuitto and Tomato.

I love eggs for any meal, and I really like to make something hearty and rich for brunch on the weekends as a counterpoint to the quick eats I gobble down during the work week before dashing out the door to catch my bus to work. This recipe caught my eye as something different to try. It is similar to Shirred Eggs or the French Oeufs en Cocotte and is just as easy to make.

As he shows, the recipe is so simple to put together. It’s just adding layer after layer of flavor. After that, place the ramekin (or in this case a Pyrex cup) in the oven to cook until the egg is set. I decided to put some of the smoked salmon I picked up in my pre-blizzard food run on the bottom of the baking dish. I cracked the egg in the dish and added about a teaspoon or so of heavy cream to that along with a few slivers of gruyere, chopped chives, and freshly ground black pepper. Then, into the oven it went.

About fifteen or so minutes later, breakfast was ready. Creamy, rich, and with that salty bit from the salmon at the end, it was the perfect start to my day. In the original recipe, Bittman points out that this dish lends itself to a range of ingredient and flavor combinations. As it is made in individual portions and doesn’t have a long cooking time, it would be a great candidate for a do-it-yourself brunch dish, allowing each of your guests to customize his or her own eggs. That’s something I might try the next time I have folks over for a pre-sledding party.

Buon appetito!

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