Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baked egg delights

Our chooks are producing so much at the moment and we are kept busy trying to think of new ways to cook eggs. At the moment I'm a bit obsessed with baked eggs, which I hadn't really cooked much before, and I've been trying out all kinds of variations on a theme. I've made them for entrees(one egg per person) and main courses(two eggs per person) and I guess I could make them for sweets too but I haven't tried that yet. Hmm, not sure I want to..
Anyway, I love baked eggs because they're so easy to do, so quick to cook, they look great in their ramekins, they taste fantastic, and you can do just about anything you want with them. And unlike say omelettes they always work for me! Here are some of the variations I've made:
*A basic sour cream and herb baked egg. Butter the ramekins, add a dollop of sour cream in which you've mixed herbs(tarragon, dill, sage, whatever) salt, and pepper, put the ramekins in bain-marie in a baking pan in the oven(moderate temperature), allow the cream to melt a little, then remove, crack the egg or eggs(depending on whether it's entree or main course)carefully into each ramekin, add another dollop of sour cream on top(no more than half-to a teaspoon for the top) , salt and pepper, and cook in bain-marie for 5-8 minutes, till the egg white is set, not jelly-like any more but not too hard set either.
*A smoked trout and herb baked egg. Chop up some smoked trout till fine, add dill, salt, pepper, a little Dijon mustard and sour cream till it makes a nice blended but not smooth mixture, put down bottom of buttered ramekin, but don't put in oven to melt. Instead crack egg or eggs in, add a half-teaspoon of sour cream, salt pepper, and cook as above. You can vary this by adding smoked chicken or ham or if you want a vegetarian variety, strips of haloumi cheese(already fried) or bits of feta or grated Gruyere or blue cheese or whatever. Mushrooms are also delicious in this base(cook the chopped mushrooms first in a little butter with garlic, salt and pepper and herbs before mixing in with the sour cream.)
*A tomato and capsicum baked egg, cooking the strips of capsicum in olive oil till soft(or roasting it)and adding chopped tomato and herbs to make a thick sauce, which you put down bottom, crack egg on top and drizzle a little olive oil on top. You can add olives or capers or whatever else you like to this one.
*A spinach and cheese baked egg. Cook the spinach till soft and mash it, add a little butter, a touch of sour cream or yoghurt, salt, pepper, and feta cheese or any other you'd like. Do the same as for other, and add a small knob of butter on top.
All these can easily be varied, and really the base is just whatever you'd like to dream up!

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