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For those days where you want to impress with minimal culinary effort and maximum mouthwatering results, herb baked French eggs might look like an advanced dish served in a French restaurant, but this recipe couldn't be any simpler or more versatile — and I am demonstrating my "cheat method" herein by not necessarily always baking my eggs. In a time pinch, or if I am only making this dish for myself, these can be heated over super low heat in a small non-stick egg pan on the stove with incredible results. If you are making multiple servings in individual ramekins, the results baked in the oven are not only delicious, but perfectly beautiful to present if you have beautiful ramekins or custard cups which are oven ready. I hosted a Brunch last Spring for a few friends to help introduce a new friend. Not only was our new friend a hit (as I knew she'd be!), but so were my Brunch plates, each person's plate containing lightly buttered toast points, a sprinkle of colorful edible flowers (almost always available at Whole Foods in the produce section in blister packs), and the herb-baked French eggs beautifully tempered to perfection inside my Great Aunt Mary's poppy themed ivory custard cups. The kinds of herbs you incorporate can be switched up based on what is at hand, and the dish can also be prepared without a cured meat. Delicious, visually stunning, and quick and easy to whip up for one or for many, baked eggs should be among your staple recipes. Herb Baked French Eggs are sure to impress! Whoever said French food had to be difficult?
*** For the purposes of this recipe, I am demonstrating using 3 extra large eggs. You may have to use fewer eggs if you are preparing in individual ramekins or custard cups depending on the individual cup size and according to how much each will hold.
Ingredients for Herb 'Baked' French Eggs
3 extra large organic eggs
1 medium shallot, diced
3 -4 leaves fresh sage
1 teaspoon sundried tomatoes not in oil
2 Tablespoons herbed goat cheese (I absolutely LOVE and use Trader Joe's Goat Cheese medallions in herbs; avoid the whole peppercorns from sneaking into the dish if possible)
2 Tablespoons finely diced Prosciutto or other cured meat (shaved ham also works well in this dish if your deli man will shave for you)
2 Tablespoons of a flavored whiskey or cream Sherry,
2 sprays Olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Begin by prepping the herbs and the vegetables and the Prosciutto. Dice into a fine dice but not a mince, the shallot, the sage (or other fresh herbs, Thyme and Marjoram work especially well when available), the sundried tomatoes, and the Prosciutto. Using a small non-stick egg pan, spray 2 sprays of a good olive oil and begin heating over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add your diced ingredients, shallots and Prosciutto first to soften and release flavor, followed by the tomatoes and sage to marry and round out the flavor profile. Using a rubber spatula, stir the ingredients around the pan until a soft brown fond begins to form on the bottom, careful not to burn the shallots which are now very tender. Remove pan from over heat. Add deglazing liquor. Here, I have used a pecan whiskey because I want a sweet compliment to the very savory Prosciutto and shallots. Allow whiskey to cook off a bit by placing the pan back over the heat. You want the mixture to be moist. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
Using same pan, crack in the 3 eggs. Gently spoon in and around the eggs, the mixture you have prepared. I like to spoon this in and alternate by spooning in blobs of the goat cheese so that the eggs are surrounded by flavor when the dish is ready to serve - this way, no matter how you attack it with your fork, you're sure to get the entire flavor profile in every bite.
*** If using individual ramekins, preheat your over to 400 degrees and spray the insides of each cup with olive oil or cooking spray. Follow the same instructions above, filling each cup with the number of eggs you think will fit, usually 2 eggs with a typical 3" custard cup, and the mixture and the goat cheese. Place each ramekin in a shallow baking pan. Fill the baking pan with 1 1/2" of HOT water, or until the water is approximately half the height of the ramekins. The hot water will give the egg whites a head start before going into the hot oven for between 18 and 22 minutes or until whites are set.
Over medium low heat with a lid, cover and heat the eggs gently. This is a crowded pan so it takes a bit of effort to cook the whites through while allowing the yolks to remain partially runny. This is a great time to prepare a good white bread for the broiler for toasting.
Once set, and using a rubber spatula, remove the eggs from the pan onto a warmed plate. Dust with salt and freshly cracked pepper and serve with lightly buttered toast points. Herb Baked French Eggs are sure to impress!