Cloud eggs or eggs nests, whatever you call them they are a delightful way to prepare eggs! You basically whip up the egg whites, form cloud or nest shapes with the whipped egg whites, and plop the egg yolk in the center, and bake.
Oh yes, and some grated cheese is folded into the whipped egg whites. More cheesy structure for the nest.
3 ingredients—egg, salt, and cheese. The hardest part is whipping the egg white. And the result? We love it!
This approach for making eggs has been around for ages. I've adapted our recipe from a recipe for for "egg nest" or "nid d'oeuf" in a whimsically illustrated French children's book about cooking, called La cuisine est un jeu d'enfants, or "Cooking is Child's Play" (English translation 1965). It's a fun book if you can find a copy, filled with classic French recipes like quiche Lorraine and coq au vin with playful illustrations by Jean Cocteau.
Cloud Eggs (Egg Nests)
- 2 eggs
- 2 small pinches of salt (a pinch of salt per egg)
- 1/4 cup grated cheese such as Gruyere, Swiss, or Parmesan
Preheat oven and prep baking sheet:
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) with a rack in the middle. Line a roasting pan, or baking sheet that can take high temperatures without warping, with parchment paper or Silpat.
Separate the eggs:
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Make sure there are no little pieces of egg yolk in the whites or you will have difficulty getting the whites to beat properly. It helps if you are making more than one egg nest to keep each egg yolk in a separate prep bowl.
Beat eggs to stiff peaks:
Place the egg whites in a very clean mixer bowl (any residual oil in the mixer bowl will keep the egg whites from whipping up properly).
Add a small pinch of salt to the egg whites. Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment in a mixer (or using a hand mixer), starting on low speed and then slowly increasing to high speed, until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the cheese:
Gently fold in the grated cheese, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
Mound the egg whites:
Create two mounds of the egg white mixture on the lined baking sheet. Form the mounds so they look like nests, with indentations in the centers.
Place in the 450°F (230°C) oven for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, open the oven, pull out the rack with the egg white nests, and gently add an egg yolk to the center of each nest. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 3 more minutes.
Online bookstores that may have available copies of La Cuisine est un Jeu' d'Enfant:
Look for Random House publisher, 1965 publication date, if you want the version that has both French and English
Egg nests - same recipe, beautiful photos at Food and Whine
Reilly, Alden, and Piper with our egg nests