A repeat performance of yesterday’s Birthday Breakfast seemed like the only sensible thing for today. For one thing, the morning was grey and rainy. For another, we had fresh mushrooms, several shallots and a few slices of ham available, and there was a partial bottle of Blanc de Blanc bubbly in the fridge. So I set out once again to make the baked-eggs-in-ham-cups dish that I described in yesterday’s post, “A little something with the Champagne.” (The Blanc de Blanc bubbly mixes well with fresh orange juice, just as our Mumm’s did yesterday.)
Because yesterday’s posting contained just one photo, of the final dish, this morning I took more photos of the various steps as I cooked. So think of this encore presentation as an extension of what I posted yesterday.
I started by chopping up our remaining nine or 10 white mushrooms, plus two shallots. Here’s how they looked as they sat in the sauté pan with some butter, waiting for the gas to be turned on:
In just a few minutes, the mixture had cooked down, and most of the moisture had been evaporated. So I added a sprinkling of dried tarragon plus some salt and pepper:
Once that mixture had cooled a bit, I added a couple of teaspoons of crème fraîche (you could use sour cream) to make a nice, thick base for the baked eggs. Here’s how it looks:
Then it was just a matter of pushing a trimmed-down slice of thin ham into each of four cups of a muffin tin (in which I had rubbed a bit of olive oil), adding a large spoonful of the mushroom mixture, and plopping a raw egg into each ham cup.
With the oven preheated to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit), the eggs-in-cups baked in less than 15 minutes. And here’s how they looked, as two of the little packages sat on my plate this morning, along with a croissant:
The verdict? Delicious, and in fact better than yesterday (when I had used larger ramekins instead of muffin cups, and had put two eggs into each cup).
Culinary conclusion: And now a final note on making things like this — my special knife that makes all the chopping so much easier. Here it is:
You might think of this as a mezzaluna, although it’s actually called the Kulu Herb and Vegetable Knife, made by Kuhn Rikon of Switzerland. My wife Jan bought this one at a Williams-Sonoma shop in Florida, when we visited friends and family in February.
In Toronto, we had owned a mezzaluna (so-called because it has a half-moon shape), and thought it was rubbish because it had two blades. With the two blades, food would get stuck in the middle, and generally make a mess of things.
But this Kulu knife is brilliant. It has a Japanese carbon steel blade that’s coated with a non-stick material, and so it cuts easily and quickly and is a dream to handle. You can use it as a normal knife, or rock it back and forth as you would a mezzaluna. And no, this isn’t an advertisement: I just happen to like it.