Saturday, 27 April 2013

Saturday 27th of April 2013

Another lovely sunny day here today, so a light lunch was called for, in order to allow for maximum time spent in the garden and minimum time spent actually having to do anything.  Baked eggs are, anyway, a bit of a weekend lunchtime favourite at Distracted Towers and this is a lovely version.

Baked Eggs on Mushrooms and Spinach

large lump of butter
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
150g spinach leaves, washed and shaken dry
1 tbsp whipping cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (optional, and see below)
8 small-to-medium-sized eggs
25g grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 180Âșc. Melt the butter and fry the mushrooms over a high heat.  I have some rather wonderful porcini mushroom powder called, endearingly, Shake O'Cini, and I added a few shakes here to boost the mushroom flavour, but you don't have to be as elaborately specialist if you don't want to be..!  When the mushrooms are brown and almost 'squeaking' as you stir them, pack the spinach into the pan and put on the lid.  Remove from the heat and leave for a few minutes.  Remove the lid, stir well and then replace the lid for a few minutes more until the spinach is well wilted.  Tip the vegetable mixture into a sieve over a bowl, and press down on it with a spoon, allowing the scant, but flavoursome, juices to drain through the sieve.  Stir the cream into the strained juice.  You can just as easily use double cream instead, but whipping cream is what I mostly have in the 'fridge.

Arrange the vegetable mixture in shallow ovenproof dishes and make a 'hole' for each egg, as shown in the picture, left, and scatter over the chopped tarragon, if using.  Tarragon is a great addition to the triumvirate of mushroom, spinach and egg, but leave it out if you don't have it, or don't fancy it.  There's no mileage in using dried tarragon here... Put the dishes onto a baking tray (I lined mine with one of my silicon mats to provide a non-slip surface, stopping the dishes from sliding around on their short journey to the oven. Crack each egg into one of the 'holes'.  Drizzle over the cream-swirled cooking juices, then scatter over some parmesan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, then remove from the oven.  The eggs will continue to cook in the dishes, so err on the side of their being slightly underdone when you take them out of the oven, rather than risk overcooking them.  Serve with a nice loaf of bread and some crunchy salt to sprinkle over the eggs.

Cath xx  

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