This started as an egg moment. I reached into the fridge and grabbed an egg. I had been intending to hard boil it, when I spotted a mostly-empty carton of cream. I seldom have real cream in the fridge, but this was leftover from the holiday baking spree, and I grabbed it to toss, actually. Then I opened it and gave it a sniff. It smelled fine, so I tasted it, and it tasted fine, and in an instant, I recalled an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she made eggs baked in cream and herbs. I knew I needed to make this now.
Instead of looking for a recipe, I kind of made it up as I went. I started with buttering my dish. Then I added a healthy glug or two of cream (that's a scientific word-glug). Total it was probably about 3 tablespoons. Then I cracked my extra-large egg onto the cream. On top of this I sprinkled some sea salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and then, since I knew there was supposed to be a mountain of fresh herbs, I added a very healthy shaking of Penzey's Tuscan Sunset- my current favorite herb blend. I baked this in a 350ºF oven for about 10 minutes or so- basically until the egg was set.
I overcooked it just a tad, because the yolk was cooked through- still soft and creamy, but not runny like I preferred. But that egg. That egg was heaven. I truly cannot even begin to describe to you the magic that baking the egg in cream resulted in. I can tell you right now that this is going to be made when the herb garden is going crazy because I know the fresh herbs would have taken this egg into nirvana-land. It was decadent and creamy and completely sinful, but for a once-in-a-while treat, this egg is going to the top of the list for a special occasion breakfast. Here's Ina's recipe, and a not-so-great picture of my egg. What do you want? It was a white egg in white cream and served on a white dish.
Herbed Baked Eggs
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving
Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)
Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.