Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baked Eggs Buffet

Clockwise from upper left, Asparagus-Ham-Mushroom-Raclette Cheese, Spinach-Tomato-Mozzarella-Parmesan, Cheddar-Bacon-Jalapeños
Baked eggs deliver easy and pure protein at a brunch, ski house breakfast or a simple Sunday morning with family.  For family, you might pick just one type of filling but the real charm of a baked eggs buffet is that it can suit all tastes, finicky to exotic, meat lovers and vegetarians.

A baked eggs buffet has just the right amount of participation from diners but leaves the cook in control.  Everyone gets to add favorite fillings, just like at a restaurant omelet bar, hand over their creation and have it baked.  No one but the cook needs to be at the oven.  Easy on the cook who only needs to supervise the prep and keep an eye on the eggs baking. 

The buffet is easy to set up and the fillings can be made the night or day before.  Set out buttered ramekins, fillings and a bowl of eggs.  Preheat the oven to 350˚F and invite diners to fill their ramekin with fillings, egg then more filling.   Top with cheese and a drizzle of hot water or cream.  Bake the eggs as they are handed in.  Each one takes 15-20 minutes so skiers can continue to get ready or brunch guests can sip on coffee and enjoy nibbles from a fruit and muffin platter.  An extra timer will help keep the cook on track for seconds or late arrivals.

Ramekins are very hot when they come out of the oven.  Use tongs or a well insulated pot holder to handle and serve each on a small salad plate to keep hands clear.  Add a side of toast for dipping. 

Baked Eggs
Ingredients
1-2 eggs per ramekin
Butter to coat ramekins
Fillings- about 1/4-1/3 cup per ramekin
Cooked vegetables and meats, cheeses like asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, minced peppers (any variety), roasted potato slices, any cured ham, cooked chorizo or breakfast sausage, cheddar, feta, swiss, raclette, mozzarella, Parmesan. 
Hot water—about a teaspoon per ramekin (helps egg set and remain tender). Warm cream can also be used effectively.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F and prepare fillings (cook meats and vegetables if not yet prepared).
  • Butter ramekins generously.  
  • Place a layer of filling elements in bottom of ramekin.  Crack egg over filling. Top with more filling.  
  • Spoon hot water over mixture.
  • Place ramekins on a baking sheet or baking pan.
  • 350˚F 15-20 minutes.  For a runny yolk, check at 15 minutes. 
Serve hot ramekins on a plate. Offer hot sauce, extra cheese, salsa or just salt and pepper.

The filled ramekins just before going into the oven.