Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shirred Eggs with Style

A recent Sunset magazine article featured eggs baked in hollowed pattypan squash, an idea with appeal. Theirs looked like the yellow one in the picture; I also wanted to try a globe zucchini just for fun, changing the recipe a bit to suit my own tastes.

All you do is cut the bottom off the squash to make a stable (and edible) base, then slice off the top and scoop out the insides, leaving a thin 1/4" shell. The squashes are then brushed with olive oil and baked alongside their tops for about 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven until they are fork tender but still hold their shape. So far, so good - but this is where I diverged.

Rather than using sauteed onion and garlic as Sunset recommended, I used some roasted shallot I had left over and fresh, minced thyme from my garden. You just need a little of the filling, unless you are making these for a crowd, perhaps a tablespoon for each squash. Then, you crack an egg into each veggie ramekin (if some of the white runs down the side, just gently wipe it off or lift out the extra so it doesn't cook on the squash and spoil the symmetry of the finished dish) and put them back into the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how firm you like your egg. You can spoon a little milk on top to keep the egg from drying out.

Having baked both in the same pan, I'd probably recommend that you separate the pattypans from the zucchinis another time - the pattypan, being smaller, cooked faster than the zucchini. If I was making the two again, I'd start the zucchini ones about 3-5 minutes before the pattypans.

I liked many things about this dish - the delicate texture of the eggs, the delicious surprise of the savory shallot underneath, the combination with the squash and the flavor of thyme. The only thing it lacked was something to add just a little richness and texture, the way buttered toast enhances poached eggs. Another time, I might serve it with toasted, buttered and garlic-rubbed baguette slices or perhaps on a bed of wilted spinach and drizzled with some hollandaise sauce. Alternatively, you could add some chopped ham or smoked salmon to the onion mixture.

Any way you serve them, these are definitely baked eggs with style.

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Blogger Dagny said...

It just needs bacon -- on the side -- to occasionally dip into the eggy goodness. Yep, another thing to add to my list of things to try. I think we both seem to prefer the taste of shallots over onions so I'd probably go that route as well. I wonder how it would be with a little yellow, red, or orange bell pepper added to the shallot.

Thursday, August 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe bacon on the side, or a hollandaise sauce... great presentation!

Thursday, August 14, 2008  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Did you always cook this cute before you started blogging??!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008  
Blogger Greg said...

Crazy good idea! I third that bacon on the side idea. I can see this showing up on brunch menus all over the bay area.

Thursday, August 14, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Dagny, I love bell peppers but they don't love me, so I'd probably just go with your bacon idea, or toast.

Sara, thanks, but I can only take credit for the green one!

Cookiecrumb, yes, I've always tried but now that I'm retired, I'm really hitting my stride! :-)

Greg, it seems that bacon is yet again the crowd favorite!

Thursday, August 14, 2008  
Blogger katiez said...

They looke so cute!!!
A neighbor gave my a pattypan... I don't think they're very common around here. It's the size of a big mixing bowl... It's hole a dozen eggs.
For richness - how about a spoonful of creme fraiche under the egg... Hmmmm? I think they sound perfect as is, tho

Friday, August 15, 2008  
Anonymous Mrs. L said...

These are so cute! I'll have to see if my local farmers market is selling the globe squash this weekend.

And another "side of bacon" person here.

Friday, August 15, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

KatieZ, any small squash would do, I think, but the rounder the better. And I like the creme fraiche idea - maybe mix that with the filling!

Mrs. I, as Dagny likes to say, "Bacon makes everything better."

Friday, August 15, 2008  

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