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10 December 2005

Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps

Last week, in Domino magazine, there was a make-ahead brunch feature. It recommended making poached eggs in a silicone muffin mold and baking them in the oven. After an immediate trip to Sur La Table, I picked up a spiffy silicone muffin mold. In line, I started chatting with a chef and she told me about this recipe. I was too tired and unmotivated to try it that next morning (plain eggs Florentine were outstanding though!). Here is the recipe for future motivated mornings:

Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps

This came from the cover of January 2002 issue of Gourmet Magazine. We have modified it to our tastes. It plates beautifully and guests are always impressed!

3/4 lb mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely copped shallot (or onion)
2 Tbls. Unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. Lawrey's seasoned salt or salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbls. Crème fraiche or sour cream
1 Tbls. Finely chopped fresh tarragon
12 slices Virginia ham or honey ham -without holes (10oz.)
12 medium eggs

Garnish: fresh whole tarragon leaves
Accompaniment: butter brioche or other Buttered bread
Special Equipment: a muffin tin with 12 muffin cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare Mushrooms:
Cook mushrooms and shallot in butter with salt and pepper in a large heave skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid they give off is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraiche and tarragon.

Assemble and bake:
Fit 1 slice of ham into each of 12 light oiled muffin cups (ends will stick up and hang over edges of cups). Divide mushrooms among cups and crack 1 egg into each. Bake in middle of oven until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny. About 15-20 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper and remove (with ham) from muffin cups carefully, using 2 spoons or small spatulas. If you have tough fingers, just pick them up by the edges of the ham. Serve two per guest, one with a tarragon leaf or other green herb leaf for garnish, and the other with a sliver of tomato or red bell pepper.

Because we are serving guests, we usually cook the eggs a little longer, just so the yolks set. You may wish to ask. Some areas have concerns about salmonella.

We really like it served with little triangles of buttered toast leaned on the cups to dip in the yolk.

A great alternative to the mushroom filling is to substitute a ½ cup of cooked spinach for the shallot. Or more spinach and delete the mushroom as well.

Fresh thyme is a good substitute for the tarragon. A sprig of thyme or rosemary is a good substitute for the tarragon garnish.