Drop an egg into a skillet with butter and you get, well, a fried egg. But slip that same egg into a buttered ramekin and let it cook gently in the oven, and you get something entirely different: a soft, spoonable custard that's so much fun to eat.
Add some ham, a spoonful of tomatoes, and a side of toast, and this makes a perfect breakfast!
Baked eggs and ham is not from Dr. Seuss, though they’re cute enough to have been!
Dip your spoon into the soft yolk of the egg and after a few bites, you’ll find the ham in the bottom of the dish. It adds a smoky note, underscored by fire-roasted canned tomatoes.
Before you bake the eggs, add a teaspoon of cream on top of each egg. This creates a creamy blanket to help keep the yolks runny. I’ve also sometimes added a very thin slice of fresh goat cheese or a light sprinkle of grated cheese instead of the cream.
Set the dishes in a roasting pan and pour boiling water into the pan so the ramekins are nestled in a hot bath. This water bath helps the eggs cook more evenly and gently in the heat of the oven. The eggs are done when they're set on top but still jiggle a little.
Eggs are the great chameleons in the kitchen. They change with the tiniest flourish. Hey, you can even tint them green! Then they’ll be right at home with Dr. Seuss.
Ham and Egg Bakes
This recipe can be easily scaled up or down depending on how many people you are serving. You can even just make one ramekin at a time.
If you don't have ramekins, widemouth half-pint canning jars will also work.
- 2 tablespoons butter (28 g), at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3/4 cup (205 g) canned diced fire-roasted or plain tomatoes, with juices
- 1 cup (150 g) chopped or shredded ham
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 1/4 g) salt, and a few more pinches
- 1/4 teaspoon ground (1 1/4 g) pepper, and a few more pinches
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons (29 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 6 slices white or whole-wheat bread
- Special equipment:
- 6 ramekins or custard cups (each 1/2 cup, 125 ml capacity)
- Roasting pan or other baking dish large enough to hold all the cups.
Heat the oven to 350F
Butter the insides of each ramekin generously.
Warm the tomatoes and ham:
In a skillet, heat the oil and add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ham and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more, until both the tomatoes and ham are warmed through.
Divide the warm ham mixture among the baking dishes.
Prepare the eggs:
Set the cups in the roasting pan and bring a kettle of water to a boil. Break one egg into each cup. Sprinkle a pinch each of salt and pepper over top. Divide the cream among the eggs, adding 1 teaspoon to each.
Bake the eggs:
Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the dishes. Be careful not to splash any water into the ramekins with the eggs. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven.
Bake the eggs for 18 minutes or until the tops look set but still jiggle slightly. The eggs will continue cooking for a couple of minutes after they come out of the oven.
Toast the bread while the eggs bake
Serve the eggs right away:
Lift each cup from the water and wipe the bottoms dry before serving. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with toast.