Yesterday we had brunch with John, Lori, Cathy, and James, and my mom – as she as been doing recently – gave me all of the cooking responsibility. Which of course I had no problem with, but I did face a bit of a puzzle when trying to figure out what to make. I mean brunch seems so fun! but also tricky for the same reason. I feel like the food has to have a breakfasty element to it but not be so informal. Like you have to dress it up a bit or give it a twist. And that allows you to be so creative – the possibilities are endless!
But because I’ve never made anything for a brunch before, and I’ve only attended a few brunches myself (mainly with John and Lori, who is an AMAZING cook), I decided to look to more experienced sources for figuring out the menu. I looked through a number of cookbooks and scoured the internet, eventually landing on this baked eggs recipe through the food blog, Smitten Kitchen. It seemed easy enough and had all of the right components so I decided to give it a try. And it turned out pretty well, I might add.
So I think that my first attempt at making brunch was a success. Could use some touching up here and there, but what doesn’t? The point is is that it was a nice time with good friends and the food wasn’t bad. I’m really looking forward to making brunch again. I really like having people over and cooking. It’s so fun!
I served this with green salad topped with some Crisped Prosciutto.
Spinach and Mushroom Baked Eggs
From Gourmet, June 2004
10 oz Baby Spinach Leaves
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
5 oz Mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream*
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
4 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Finely Grated Parmesan
Put rack in upper third** of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Bring several inches of water to a boil in a 10 to 12 inch ovenproof heavy skillet – not cast iron (I used a dutch oven). Then add half of the Spinach and cook, turning, until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add remaining spinach and wilt in the same manner, then cook, covered, over moderately high heat until the spinach is tender, about 2 minutes (I think that only a minute or so is okay). Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Gently squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop.
Wipe the skillet dry, then cook the Onion and Garlic in the Butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and increase the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are softened and have exuded liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in Cream (or Milk), Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, and chopped spinach and bring to a simmer.
Remove skillet from heat and make four large indentations in the spinach and mushroom mixture. Break an egg into each indentation and bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, until the egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, 7 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer one egg with some spinach and mushrooms over to a piece of toast. Lightly season the egg with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with cheese.
*I used Low-Fat Milk.
**Because I used a dutch oven, I left it on the middle rack and they baked just fine.