The Shirr Thing

After a lifetime of omelets, frittatas, scrambled, fried, boiled, deviled, Benedict, whatever … I can’t believe I have gone 85 years of my life without exhausting all of the ways out there to cook eggs.  But alas, I had – until I finally had Shirred/Baked eggs.  And what can I say?  It is a preparation of eggs that basic America has flat out missed the boat on in 2010.  This criminally overlooked form of cooking eggs has rebaselined my own feelings about the potential of this every versatile ingredient.  So, what involves baking eggs?  Well, here is the recipe that won my heart.  In all reality, it is no more difficult than cooking an omelet or frittata, it offers a smoothness and richness those two forms do not quite have, and has far less added fat than it seems.  In some ways, it is almost an omelet deconstruction – if you want to be snooty about it.  (h/t Chocolate and Zucchini: Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen):

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease two ramikins with butter.  Don’t have to go overly wild, but make sure there is coverage.  Add a tablespoon of heavy cream to each ramikin, get the bottom covered.
  2. Meanwhile, take some sort of salt cured ham (we used prosciutto di parma – there are other options of course, but you get the vibe) and thinly slice and torn into half inch think shreds.  You only need 1 oz for two ramikins – basically 2 slices of prosciutto if you get them packaged or sliced in a default manner.  Add to the ramikins.
  3. Crack one egg into each ramikin making sure the yolk stays in one piece.
  4. Top each egg with a few halved grape or cherry tomatoes.  The recipe we used calls for three halved cherry tomatoes on each portion – really just whatever makes sense tastewise.  At this point, add some salt and pepper.
  5. Hopefully by now the oven is ready to go.  So put the two portions in the oven for – well the recipe says 15 to 18 minutes.  In our oven, at 15 minutes the yolk had set – not overcooked but no chance to run (picture jelly sort of consistency).  Realistically, you could cook it for less – and realistically, the ramikins are screaming hot when it comes out of the oven so cooking will continue.  Thus, pulling them out on the early side from the oven is a good idea.  Anyway, the yolk consistency is based on individual happiness.

Obviously the recipe has salt cured pig – which makes it very very hard to not be delicious (if you have THAT carnivorous proclivity).  That said, to say this is a great light breakfast item is a hilarious understatement.


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