Baked Eggs for Brunch
Brunch is by far my favorite time to sit down at the table. It always feels so much like a luxury and like you’re somehow sneaking around the conventional dusty rules of three meals a day by combining two of them. Plus, I do love to sleep in when time affords, and brunch is usually the result of a long lazy stretch in bed that morning.
I also like how brunch bends the rules by putting sweet pastries, warmly spiced French toast, savory quiches, and even heartier fare like meaty sandwiches all on one table. There’s this place near me, Valley Green Inn, which serves an amazing (and generous) basket of homemade mini muffins, breads, and pastries to every table at brunch. It makes my heart sing. Somehow the sight of a slice of pumpkin bread nestled beside a blueberry muffin snuggled up with a hunk of sourdough truly tickles my fancy.
This recipe for Baked Eggs with Creamy Leeks is a quintessential brunch dish. It’s rich to the point of being just a little bit self-indulgent (just like sleeping in) and best eaten when you’ve got time to linger as the flavors demand being savored. The onion hints of the leeks and their bright color offset the eggs as only leeks can. The eggs, by the way, were some of those wonderful country brown eggs from chickens running around out in a pasture. It’s always amazing to me (although it probably shouldn’t be) that you can taste the difference between a caged-up hen’s white eggs and a free range hen’s brown eggs – you really can!
The news is a-buzz with the upcoming switch in Commander-in-Chiefs, and I got to thinking while I was making this about all the fancy affairs going on with the inauguration this coming week. If you look up the list of events, you’ll see a number of high society brunches in D.C. and across the country. The menu for the official inaugural luncheon looks quite tasty and rather suspiciously like brunch. Once I got to thinking about all the celebratory inauguration brunches, I started wondering, what will Obama eat for breakfast the day he becomes president? If I were him, I’d be too nervous to eat, but this tasty dish would be worthy of consideration for such a momentous breakfast.
Be it an important dignitary or Joe the Plumber, everyone will enjoy Baked Eggs with Creamy Leeks. And while the presentation is lovely enough for a brunch event, the preparation is so simple you can make it for your family any time you can all manage to gather around the table. No matter what the time of day.
Baked Eggs with Creamy Leeks
Adapted from Four Ingredient Cooking
1 T. butter
2 t. minced garlic
2 C. leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed
8 T. light cream
1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. dried majoram or rubbed sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Generously spray the base and sides of the ramekins and set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the garlic and leeks over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low for a minute before adding half of the cream. Stir in nutmeg and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture has thickened and leeks are soft, about another 4 minutes.
Place the ramekins in a small roasting pan and divide the leek mixture evenly among them. Carefully break an egg in each and spoon over a tablespoon of the remaining cream. Sprinkle with dried herbs, salt and pepper.
Put roasting pan on oven rack and then pour boiling water into the pan to come up about halfway on the sides of the ramekins. Carefully push pan into the center of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, just until the eggs are set.
Serve straight from the oven with a crusty roll.