Sunday, March 16, 2014

Baked Egg in Fall Vegetables

I'm glad that eggs have mostly lost their dubious repuation, because I absolutely adore them. A runny egg can be relied upon to be the crowning jewel of a burger, rice bowl, or pasta dish, but here it is the golden soul of a rich pile of vegetables. All the prep and cooking time might have seemed a bit onerous when preparing a big batch of Stewed Cauliflower, Butternut Squash, and Tomatoes, but once you start to delve into its myriad applications, it becomes clear it was more than worth the effort.

If you enjoy shakshuka or eggs in purgatory, this recipe is also made for you. It steers away from the bold spice used in those recipes, instead punctuating the rich vegetables with a pickled pop of capers. That tender cocoon of vegetables perfectly encases the egg as it gently cooks, the two substances blending together at the edges while transforming into a warm and comforting meal. The Parmesan and herb-kissed bread crumbs are a nice finishing touch, the salty, toasty garnish providing a crispy contrast and last infusion of flavor. It is quite the filling breakfast with just a slice of toast for soaking up each and every last bit, but add a salad on the side and you've got a well-rounded brunch, lunch, or dinner as well.

Baked Egg in Fall Vegetables
adapted from Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan
serves 1

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup Stewed Cauliflower, Butternut Squash, and Tomatoes, cold
1 egg
Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon dried whole wheat bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat panko
1/2 to 1 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, etc.) or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the inside of a large (8-ounce) ramekin with the butter.

2. Add 1/3 cup of the vegetables to the ramekin and make a well in the center of the vegetables with a teaspoon. Carefully break the egg into the well, season with salt, and top with the remaining 1/3 cup stewed vegetables.

3. Mix the bread crumbs with the herbs and sprinkle evenly on top of the vegetables; sprinkle the cheese on top.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is browned and crisp, and when you use a spoon to gently lift some of the vegetables from the top to uncover the egg, you can see that the white is cooked through but the yolk is still runny.

5. Let cool for a few minutes, then eat with a spoon.

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