For a Birthday Breakfast here at home in Daglan, Champagne with orange juice is just about mandatory. But it’s still important to eat something along with the drinkies.
So today, for my wife Jan’s birthday, I made an egg dish that’s definitely delicious and fairly easy to prepare. It’s something I used to whip up in Toronto when we had our celebratory Champagne brunch with friends while watching the Tour de France’s finale, the Ride into Paris.
The recipe comes from The Gourmet Cookbook, which calls the dish “Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps.” The recipe suggests using a muffin tin, to make a dozen of the crisps. But since there were just the two of us for breakfast, and since our eggs were fairly small, I decided to use two eggs per serving, and to use larger ceramic dishes to hold the concoctions.
What follows is my version of the recipe. It’s pretty easy to adjust the ingredients depending on how many people you’re serving, so I haven’t worried about exact measurements.
Start by preheating your oven to 200 Celsius (400 F). Now mince a shallot or two, and mix with a handful of button mushrooms that you’ve cleaned and then chopped finely. Season with salt and pepper, and then cook the chopped shallots and mushrooms in butter, until the liquid given up by the mushrooms has evaporated. As the mixture cools, stir in some chopped tarragon and a spoonful or two of crème fraîche or sour cream. The mixture should be fairly thick, rather than runny.
Lightly oil each of the cups in your muffin tin. Now push a thin slice of your favourite ham (something like a Black Forest ham) down into each of the muffin cups to form a base; you may may need to trim the ham a bit, but it should hang over the edge of the cup. Now spoon in some of the mushroom and crème fraîche mixture; and crack an egg on top. Then place your muffin tin on the middle rack of your preheated oven, and let the eggs bake at least 15 minutes. At that point, the whites should be well set, the yolks should remain a bit runny, and the ham slices should have crisped up.
To serve, sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top (with some more chopped tarragon, if you have fresh herbs available) and carefully lift each ham crisp out of its muffin cup, using two spoons or forks.
Here’s how Jan’s plate looked this morning:
Jan had hers by itself, while I enjoyed mine with a wonderful croissant from the bakery in Castelnaud. And of course, we polished off the half bottle of Champagne with some fresh orange juice.
Next time, I’ll go back to using a muffin tin, with just one egg per ham crisp, simply because they’re easier to manage — Jan’s serving came out of the ceramic ramekin fairly neatly, but mine fell apart. Still, it tasted fine.