I used to think eating runny eggs was akin to slurping up snot. I was disgusted at “birdies in a nest” and couldn’t stand the sight of a half-cooked yolk breaking open and spilling all over the bread. I wouldn’t touch it. I preferred my eggs as firm omelets or hard-boiled. And then I grew up.
Now, while I still like the occassional firm, over-stuffed, cheesy-veggie omelet, I eat all kinds of eggs. Over-easy, sunny-side-up, baked, poached, you name it. I’ve even eaten raw-egg mayonnaise. Haven’t started drinking raw egg yet, but, come on, what do you think my name is, Gaston? I’d even have to admit, I love, love the taste of a partially cooked egg yolk broken over a slice of buttered French bread. Give me that and a cup of smooth pea soup, and I could die happy.
This baked egg recipe utilizes that ooey-gooey goodness of a yolk-soaked piece of bread, but substitutes polenta. It’s very easy to prepare and would be a fun brunch-party dish. You can make the polenta and fill the ramekins the night before; in the morning, you need only to crack the eggs into the dishes and bake.
The polenta is flavored with spring onions and (what else?) bacon because it is the perfect breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, maybe even dessert or cocktail-hour) food. If your trying to stay lean and fit, you could leave the bacon out and maybe add some spices for flavor (I’m thinking smoky paprika.) Or you could run an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill tomorrow. Or shake your booty extra-hard at a dance-club this weekend (go easy on the bacon martini’s though, okay?)
However you make up for it, I really recommend you make this dish this weekend. It cheered me up… and I’ve been grumpy for weeks now!
Baked Eggs with Polenta & Bacon
- 5 slices thick bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 3 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 cup coarse-grind polenta
- 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, divided
- salt and pepper
- 4 eggs
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add green onions and cook until beginning to get tender. Add water or broth and polenta. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, lower heat and let polenta cook until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400°. Grease 4 ramekins (or cute little black cast-iron pots with lids). Stuff an equal amount of polenta in each ramekin, you should use about all of the polenta. Sprinkle 1 oz. of cheese over polenta. Crack an egg into each ramekin, being careful not to break the yolks—this works best with farm-fresh eggs. Bake in oven until whites of eggs are almost set, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cheese and green onions.
What food did you *hate* as a kid, but would go nuts for now??