Think eggs must be cooked on the stove-top? Think again. Oven-baked eggs (also called shirred eggs) are a glamorous alternative, especially if you doll them up with pesto (ooh) and bacon (aah). I still have hoards of pesto in my freezer from my summer pestopalooza, and a dollop with each egg really brings this dish alive.
Plus, let's face it, when each person gets their own little ramekin, they feel quite special. Like, awww, she thought enough of me to make me an individual serving! She must loooooooooove me.
I hate to admit how much I'm into low-fuss meals, but the less work I have to do, the better. Always. Especially when it comes to entertaining.
I'm kind of an entertaining nightmare, actually. Hours before anyone arrives I freak out about anything and everything: the dog hair on the kitchen floor (it's always there, even if I vacuumed 5 minutes ago), the toothpaste smear in the kids' sink (don't even get me started), the dead plants in the living room (I know, I know, throw them out), and the newspapers teetering on the ledge between the kitchen and drop-down family room. (Thump. Always.)
If you're like me, you have friends whose homes are always, always in tip-top shape. I seriously have no idea how they do it. You can drop in unexpectedly at any time of day and find nothing out of place. There are no dishes in the sink, no mail on the counter, no papers on the table, no dog hair on the rug. HOW HOW HOW?
I hate these people.
Though, in their defense, maybe they say the same thing about my shirred eggs. "How on earth did she make such a gorgeous little dish?"
Recipe for Shirred Eggs with Bacon and Pesto
For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, for your family or when entertaining large numbers of friends, this dish is so pretty it looks fussy. But it's not. At all. You can make as many servings as you have ramekins.
Makes four 1-egg servings
1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons heavy cream
3 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
2 teaspoons pesto
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide butter among four 6-ounce ramekins and rub to coat the bottom and sides. Crack an egg into each, and top with equal amounts of cream, crumbled bacon, and pesto. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Place ramekins in a small roasting pan and fill 1/3 way up the sides with boiling water. Cover the roasting pan with foil and set in the oven. Bake for 19-21 minutes, or until eggs look set. (If you like, you can fill each ramekin with 2 eggs instead of 1. If doing so, increase bake time by several minutes.)
Serve immediately, cautioning guests that the ramekins will be hot.