Want to impress your friends (or just yourself) with a fun and glamorous brunch dish, such as a perfectly cooked egg nestled in a little cup with a hint of basil, garlic, and parmesan? Secretly, it’s super duper easy. Presentation is easy since hello, ramekins! Those are little dishes that can go in the oven – you’ll need one per egg. Don’t worry, ramekins aren’t a one-use wonder – you can use them for all sorts of things since they can double as a small container for pretty much anything. Also, I had never made anything in a water bath before – and I’m here to testify it’s a lot easier than it seems. It’s a method used to make custards and puddings as well – it protects the little guys from dry heat that might be too harsh for their delicate and small contents – and it was perfectly easy.
BAKED EGGS WITH PESTO AND PARMESAN
Makes 4 eggs – serves 2 hungry adults
Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian
Oil or butter for greasing ramekins
4 tsp. prepared pesto (you can use store-bought, like Buitoni, or homemade – I used store-bought)
4 T. half-and-half or cream
4 T. grated Parmesan cheese
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: Chopped parsley or green onion for garnish
Equipment: 4 small ramekins (mine are about 3 1/2″ diameter – similar to these); 1 medium casserole that fits the ramekins without too much extra room, for their water bath; aluminum foil
Method: Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare the water bath by putting some water on to boil (maybe 3-4 cups depending on how large your casserole is). Grease the ramekins and place them in the casserole. Place 1 tsp. pesto in the bottom of each and smear it around. Crack an egg into each ramekin and top with 1 T. half and half or cream per egg. Sprinkle each egg with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, then sprinkle grated Parmesan on top. If you are using chopped parsley or green onion for garnish, sprinkle just a bit on too.
Once your water has come to a boil, carefully pour around (not into!) the ramekins, coming about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Cover the whole thing with foil. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes. To check if done, remove from oven and nudge the yolk with a fork – they tend to look a bit undone even when they are done. You want the whites to be set, but the yolks to be slightly gooey.
Carefully remove ramekins from the water bath. I used canning tongs to remove them from the water (which have never been used for actual canning, mind you, but it turns out, they excel at removing hot things from boiling water since that is their purpose!). You could also use regular tongs and a silicone mitt.
Serve with hot buttered toast (or whatever you like). Enjoy!
P.S. I’ve read that if your ramekins tend to slide around in the water bath, put a dishtowel in the bottom of the casserole before you place the ramekins in it and pour the water in. I didn’t need this myself, but I am passing it along in case it is helpful.