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 180ºc. 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.