Monday, January 21, 2013

ChezCindy: Shirred Eggs with Kale and Mushrooms

Shirred Eggs with Kale and Mushrooms

I am always looking for ways to add vegetables to my breakfast dishes.  When you think about it,
vegetables are often a key ingredient, or at least a side dish, for lunch and dinner.  But vegetables at breakfast are not first of mind.  Generally fruit, grains, eggs, pork meats and breads are the main players of breakfast.  The only way vegetables make a showing at breakfast is if they are used in a frittata, strata or omelet.  I load up on the vegetables when making these dishes. I recently came upon a lovely book titled, The Farmstead Egg Cookbook by Terry Godson, that included a recipe for Shirred Eggs with Spinach and Cream.  It is a terrific recipe that creates a delicious egg dish with vegetables!  Taking this recipe one step further, allows me to add even more vegetables than she calls for, but using the same concept. 

Shirred eggs are basically eggs that are baked in an individual flat-bottomed dish, and are usually served in the dish in which they are baked.  The basic recipe is one that can be varied and expanded to meet the preference of the preparer.  The flat-bottomed dish can be a number of choices which you may already have.  Consider using a ramekin, a custard cup, a brulee dish or a small gratin dish.  But definitely something that is oven-proof for temperature's of 350 or 375 degrees. 

Shirred eggs are a good consideration for serving overnights guests or when hosting a small brunch.  Simply assemble the eggs ahead of time, refrigerate for no longer than an hour, and bake when your guests are ready.  Place the individual ramekins on a sheet tray so that they are easy to handle going in and out of the oven. 
Below is my basic recipe.  I always use some type of green leafy such as spinach or kale.  I like adding mushrooms, but don't always have them in the fridge.  You could add diced tomatoes, sliced shallots or onions.  Tiny diced butternut squash or potatoes would be another good choice.  I like adding just a small amount of shredded Parmesan cheese, but you could add another cheese or none at all.  And I have omitted the cream from the original recipe, unless I am being indulgent.  You can use whole eggs or just egg whites.  I have done both and find each equally delicious.  This recipe is for one, but can be easily repeated for the number of guests you are serving.

Shirred Eggs with Kale and Mushrooms
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped kale
2 tablespoons sliced mushrooms
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon mix of finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, etc)
cooking oil spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the butter to a 6-8 ounce oven-proof ramekin. (this is where you would add 1 tablespoon of cream if using) Spray the ramekin with the cooking oil spray.  Place the ramekin in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter. Remove from the oven.  Swirl the butter around the ramekin to coat the bottom.  Set aside.
Working with a saute pan, saute the sliced mushrooms until they are brown; remove from the pan adding them to the ramekin.  Add the chopped kale to the pan; cover with a lid to wilt the kale.  This will take just a few minutes.  (if using spinach, you will need to squeeze out any excess liquid)  Remove the kale from the saute pan, adding to the ramekin on top of the mushrooms.  Add the eggs; sprinkle with the cheese and herbs.  (if using dried herbs, use 1/2 teaspoon or less)  Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. 
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the yolk is set.  Remove from the oven.  Place the ramekin onto a plate to serve.

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