Despite their terrifyingly Orwellian name, the American Egg Council really did something right when they came up with that “incredible edible egg” campaign. Maybe I’m just a sucker for internal rhyme, but nearly every time I buy or cook with eggs, that little slogan runs through my head. I look at the eggs, and I say to myself, “man, these really are incredible and edible.” Yes, I really am that weird.
Not that eggs really need a slogan to be impressive. They can be cooked in about a dozen different ways, all yielding wildly different end products. They improve our sauces, boost our souffles, bind our meatloaf, and they’re the key to nearly every baked good we’ve got. Egg whites can even be used to develop photographs. Now that’s black magic if I’ve ever heard it…
And it’s a frickin’ chicken embryo! Can we take a second for how weird that is? To whip out the old cliche, imagine the first guy who said “Hey, I bet that chicken embryos are delicious!” He was probably stoned to death by his tribesman, but the third or fourth guy pulled it off, poached those poultry embryos, slapped them on an English Muffin, whipped up some Hollandaise sauce, and treated his friends to history’s first brunch. And that man’s name was Col. Samuel J.J. Benedict.
Ok, that may not be exactly true to fact. But it’s pretty likely that shortly after man first ate egg, he threw said egg into a cooking vessel and applied some fire. Had he done this in his hearth with a bit of liquid that he happened to have on hand, he would have made shirred, or baked, eggs. And now, without even the slightest risk of stoning, so can you.
I know, I know, it looks like slop again. But once more, I promise that it’s delicious. Two notes before the recipe:
- 12-14 minutes is about the right cooking time, so just trust your clock. The eggs will also continue to cook when you take them out. I actually overdid mine by a good bit, so they were more hard-boiled than I wanted them to be.
- You may doubt me, but I swear to you that this dish was spectacular as cold leftovers. It was almost like some kind of Mediterranean egg salad. A great lunch to take to work.
And that’s all I’ve got. So without further ado, and with special thanks to the American Egg Council, the American Tomato Society, and the European Spinach Conglomerate, the recipe:
Shirred Eggs with Tomatoes and Spinach
1/2 pound spinach
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup hard Italian cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and grease a 9×9 baking dish or 6 individual ramekins. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cook the spinach for just about a minute, drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Chop.
3. Add tomatoes and spinach to dish or ramekins along with some salt. Top with eggs, then cheese.
4. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.