Baked Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach & Fontina
Baked Eggs: A delicious French peasant dish that is so incredibly quick & easy, you can have it on the table in less than 20 minutes.
On the basic level: two eggs are cracked into an individual baking dish, seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled with cream, dotted with butter and baked until the whites are set and the yolks are runny (or set, if you prefer).
On a more substantial/creative level: baked eggs can be topped with whatever suits your fancy.
Virtually any cheese, meat or vegetable can be used, making it a great way to use up left-overs.”
I love the combination of oven-roasted tomatoes, creamed spinach and fontina. The touch of acidity from the tomatoes helps cut the richness of the dish and pairs beautifully with the spinach and fontina. That said, go with the spirit of the recipe, not necessarily the letter. If there’s no time to roast tomatoes, try sautéed red/yellow peppers, chopped oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh cherry tomatoes, or maybe pickled peppadews. Don’t like fontina? Use chevre, Gorgonzola, white cheddar, or rosemary manchego. Grilled asparagus, sauteed chard or even blanched haricots verts could be used rather than the spinach, if you like. Cooking is about having fun. Or, at least it should be.
The eggs are baked in individual ramekins, which make a nice presentation, even for company. Julia Child set the ramekins in a pan of boiling water so the intense heat of the oven doesn’t toughen the eggs. James Peterson uses the same method, but also arranges a towel in the water under the ramekins to keep them from sliding around in the oven.
Baked Eggs w/Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Creamed Spinach & Fontina
1 10-ounce bag cleaned, organic baby spinach
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. lemon zest
Freshly grated nutmeg & cayenne pepper, to taste
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked & chopped
1 cup Fontina or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
Kosher Salt & freshly cracked pepper
Saute spinach in a hot pan with just a touch of olive oil, tossing with tongs until wilted. Transfer spinach to a colander or sieve to cool and drain. When cool, squeeze out every last drop of liquid from the spinach – a bamboo sushi roller is very efficient and much easier on the hands. Coarsely chop the squeezed spinach and place in a bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup cream, lemon zest & juice, and season with 3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper (freshly ground black pepper is fine), a pinch each of cayenne and nutmeg. Set aside. Can be done a day before.
Toss chopped tomatoes in a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Bake on parchment-lined sheet tray in 400° oven until some of the tomatoes are just beginning to char. Set aside. This step can also be done a day before.
Lightly butter four oval ramekins, custard cups or oven boats. Divide creamed spinach into the ramekins. Crack two eggs on top of the creamed spinach in each ramekin. Sprinkle eggs with salt, pepper, remaining heavy cream, Fontina and dot with butter. Arrange the dishes in a roasting pan and pour in enough hot water to come about half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes – until egg whites are set and cheese is bubbly. Top with roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
Spring: Grilled asparagus, smoked salmon, caramelized shallots & Ricotta
Summer: Roasted cherry tomatoes, buttery corn, Fontina & arugula
Autumn: Roasted butternut squash, fire-rst. red peppers & toasted walnuts
Winter: Roasted potatoes, Parmigiano-Reggiano & Truffle oil