I’VE BEEN USING fresh, local eggs (the terms are synonymous, I know) in all kinds of interesting ways lately. For instance, last night I baked four in a muffin tin (to give the eggs a neat, “molded” shape). Then, after placing the eggs on crispy croutons, I gave them a drizzle of gluten-free béchamel, and sprinkling of chopped herbs. I can tell you the velvety top, the soft, yolky middle, and the crunchy base made for some seriously sensual eating. Here’s the recipe:
Baked Eggs in Bechamel
Fresh, local eggs (one or two per person)
Fresh chives and parsley, finely chopped (I used herbs from my frozen stash)
Salt and Freshly-ground pepper
Butter, melted (1/2 tsp. per egg, plus one or more Tbs. for frying the rounds of bread)
Béchamel (recipe to follow)
A non-stick muffin tin; a shallow pan, one or two inches larger than the muffin tin, for the water-bath; a buscuit cutter for cutting out rounds of bread.
Preheat oven to 375F.
1. Pour one inch of water into the shallow pan, and bring it to a boil on the stove-top.
2. Meanwhile, spoon about 1/2 tsp. melted into each opening of the muffin tin you will be using. Then crack one egg into each opening; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and one Tbs. chopped chives.
3. Set the muffin tin in the water-bath, and let the eggs cook for about 2 minutes, or until bottom of each egg is slightly set. Then transfer both pans to the oven, and let bake for exactly 10 minutes.
4. While the eggs are baking, cut out rounds of bread with your biscuit cutter (or use a drinking glass). Fry these until golden brown in one or more Tbs. of butter (you can also fry the rounds in olive oil).
5. Check the eggs after they’ve baked for 10 minutes. If they look set, but still shimmy when you shake the pan, they are perfectly done. Remove the muffin tin from the water-bath, run a dinner knife along of the edge of each egg, and then lift it out. Place each egg on a crouton.
Easy, Gluten-free Bechamel (you can make this in under 4 minutes):
3 Tbsp. non-gmo cornstarch, blended to a smooth paste in a small amount of water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated Swiss or Gruyere Cheese
Seasonings – one pinch each of salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg and cayenne
In a medium saucepan, heat milk until boiling; add cornstarch. Stir until thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat; add seasonings and 1/2 cup grated cheese. Then stir until the cheese melts. If too thick, add a little more milk; if too thin, add a little more cornstarch blended with milk.
Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly newsletter.