in the kitchen with: amanda hesser’s baked eggs

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A few weeks ago, we ran a recipe for a Monte Cristo sandwich with fried egg, and I shared a bit of my own personal enthusiasm for the versatility of the egg.  This week’s recipe  for baked eggs by Food52’s Amanda Hesser, takes eggs back to basics, presenting them in one of the simplest ways to eat the dish.  Eggs prepared in simple ways, like these baked eggs, is one of my favorite breakfast items to enjoy when I eat out each time I am home in the United States. Amanda’s recipe is great because you can add to it whichever herbs you like most.   -Kristina

About Amanda: Amanda has designed a 17th-century-style herb garden at a French chateau, created the Twitter app Plodt, and appeared in Julie & Julia, playing herself. She was also named one of the 50 most influential women in food by Gourmet.  Before she and Merrill Stubbs started Food52, Amanda was a reporter at the New York Times, and the food editor at the Times Magazine. She wrote the award-winning books Cooking for Mr. Latte and The Cook and the Gardener, and edited the essay collection Eat, Memory. Her last book, a Times bestseller and the winner of a James Beard award, is The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Amanda is a trustee of Awesome Food, and is an adviser to The Spence Group.

See Amanda’s recipe after the jump.

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Baked Eggs
Serves 4

  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Soft butter, for buttering dishes
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Piment d’espelette, smoked paprika, or other ground chile
  • Country bread, for toast

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the rosemary and olive oil in a small saucepan. Place over low heat until you can smell the rosemary, then shut off the heat and let cool.

Butter 4 shallow baking dishes (6- or 8-ounce). Crack 2 eggs into each baking dish. Spoon 1 tablespoon cream into each dish. Season with salt, pepper, and ground chile (to you liking). Place the dishes on a baking sheet and slide into your hot oven. Bake until just set, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the dish you are using.

Meanwhile, toast your bread and brush it with rosemary oil.

(Images by James Ransom)

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Why Amanda loves this recipe

Fried eggs and scrambled eggs have forever trumped baked eggs, and I’d like to march on Washington to change this. I have nothing against fried and scrambled eggs. I’m an equal-opportunity egg lover, but I do think it’s unfair that when you’re at a diner or even a good hotel, requests for a
baked egg are met with blank stares.

Baked eggs are the friendliest of all egg recipes. Unlike the fried family, which requires a perfectly seasoned pan or a PFOA-free non-stick pan, or the scramble, which invites lots of debate about cooking speed and finished texture (I dare you to find a table full of people who agree on the way you’re cooking scrambled eggs for them), all baked eggs ask for is a shallow baking dish.

You crack some eggs into the buttered baking dishes, pour in some cream, and season the eggs. You can add leeks or pancetta or mushrooms if you like, and you can top the eggs with cheese. Next the eggs go into the oven, allowing you to clean up a bit and leisurely check on their progress. It’s almost impossible to overcook baked eggs. And when they come out of the oven, each little dish is self-contained and handsomely framed by its dish– the eggs are browned at the edges and like custard in the  you have a delicious meal that can be served for breakfast,  dinner — or for breakfast, lunch, *and* dinner.

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beth ck

baked eggs are magic and a well-kept secret. they amplify any accompanying flavor. i forgo the cream, they’re very rich on their own, and use salsa, mushrooms or hummus for moisture and texture on the bottom. i top with a light smear of yogurt or light sprinkle of cheese for extra flavor on the top

Jeannine

Quick question–if anyone can estimate, what is the approximate size of the shallow baking dishes pictured here? Thanks!

thefolia

I never thought to create this simple yet masterful dish. What a quick and hearty breakfast I can make while getting ready in the morning. You will forever change my mornings! Thank you and happy nesting!

Helen Meserve

This is our Sunday morning favorite. I add minced chives after cooking, and sometimes put chopped smoked salmon in with the eggs. That makes it extra special. We call them shirred eggs….have for 50 years. Maybe that’s an old term?

Rod

Based upon the photo at very top of the dish with a fork, I would say 4 to 5 inches across.

lovoni walker

how can 1 tablespoon of cream (in ingredients) become 12 in the method when you say to spoon 3 tablespoons of cream into each dish?? Typo?

Sue

There’s more than 1 tbsp of cream in this recipe. More like 3/4 cup (3 tbsp in each of 4 dishes). Other than that, I can’t wait to try it.

Elle

Ingredient list says 1 tablespoon heavy cream, but the directions say 3 tablespoons per dish. Is it really 3 tablespoons per dish?

Michelle

Anyone think it could work to use whole milk instead of heavy cream?

Knucklehead

So nice to get to learn more about Amanda Hesser; I had previously only known her as the NYT reporter/cookbook author (and that had seemed like plenty to be doing). I was not a fan of early food52, but now I will give it a second shot.

Amanda Hesser

Hi there — Kristina is fixing the recipe but in the meantime, here’s the correct heavy cream measurement: you’ll need 4 tablespoons heavy cream. And you should add 1 tablespoon heavy cream to each of the 4 baking dishes.

Elle

In the photos, to me it looks like a lot more than just one tablespoon of cream in the dish with the eggs. Maybe it’s all sitting on top of the the whites so it just looks like a lot more?

Carolyn

I have made these in muffin tins – 12 at a time – to serve for company, topped with fresh chives and a sprinkle of parmesan, salt and pepper – when they come out of the oven.

Sue

Delish! I baked in a cast iron panand used fresh greek oregano. I will definitely do this for my next group brunch, and as a treat for myself.
(Will whole milk work instead of cream?)

Nancy

So yummy and so very simple. I added sauteed mushrooms, chives, and topped mine with some parmesan. The added ingredients increased the cooking time to 12 minutes and the whites were nearly set. If I do the same thing next time, I’ll use the convection setting and I should hit the recommended 8-10 minutes.

erica

Can you save the left-over rosemary infused olive oil and use it, for example, in a salad dressing. If so, for how long will it save?

Julia murphy

Whole milk does not cream up during baking. Hence you need to use whole cream or at least half and half.

La Deaux

How Ya Gonna Keep’em Down On The Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree …! I thought I had eaten eggs every way a Southern Mother could prepare them. I lived in the Balkans for ten years, visiting Paris a number of times. There I experienced many wonderful foods. The baking dish was lightly greased with bacon grease, topped with toasted bread and bacon crumbles. I prepare them often using a number of toppings or ingredients. Thanks for posting this article. La Deaux

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