Egg dishes take center stage at brunch

April 20, 2015

Baked Eggs With Asparagus and Bacon from "The Summer Table

For this cook, the real star of the brunch table — and it’s almost always brunch, not the evening meal that suits us this time of year — is the simple egg.

We’ve got several egg dishes to update your culinary repertoire because you will need them this season, when brunches pop up like tulips or, well, dandelions (some more welcome than others).

Dress up a quiche with fine herbes and (a bit later) tiny spring flowers. Serve up deviled ham within those perfectly deviled eggs for a real treat that you may need to have ready mid-picnic time.

Go out of the box and into the muffin tin by baking eggs with bacon and asparagus. Or combine spinach, asparagus and ricotta in a tart just made to be topped with an egg for each.

Any of these will make your message clear at the table: a simple good morning to all. 

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FINES HERBES QUICHE WITH FLOWERS

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie (serves 8).

Note: You may have to wait a bit for the vegetable flowers to be available. From "Homegrown Herb Garden" by Lisa Baker Morgan and Ann McCormick.

For crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 eggs

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, ice cold and cubed

2 tablespoons ice cold water

For filling:

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1 tablespoon crème fraîche

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon minced chervil

1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley

1 tablespoon minced chives

1 tablespoon minced tarragon

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onions

1 cup sliced baby zucchini

Organic broccoli flowers, chive flowers, zucchini blossoms, or marigold petals, for garnish

To make the crust: Combine flour and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor. Add 2 eggs and pulse to combine. Add butter cubes and pulse until incorporated. The mixture will have coarse chunks. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons cold water until the dough just comes together. Don’t overprocess. Pat dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. The dough can be made in advance.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a circle 1/8 inch thick. Fold the dough over the rolling pin and carefully place in a 9-inch tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and roll the pin over the top of the pan to cut the dough against the edges of the pan. Pierce bottom of dough in several places with a fork. Gently cover the dough with a generous piece of aluminum foil and place pie weights or dried beans on top of the foil. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes until the shape is set. Remove the weights and aluminum foil. Continue to bake the tart shell empty for about 7 minutes until the crust no longer looks wet but has no color. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

To make the filling: Combine 4 beaten eggs, cream, milk, crème fraîche, pepper and salt in a bowl. Combine the herbs in a separate bowl.

Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and zucchini. Turn the heat to low and place a piece of aluminum foil over the zucchini and onions; press down so the zucchini stays flat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through but not browned. Remove from the heat.

Spread the zucchini and onions over the bottom of the crust. Spread the herbs on top. Gently pour the egg mixture over. Place the quiche on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The quiche is done when the crust edges are golden brown and the eggs are set and slightly puffed. Garnish with fresh edible flowers in a decorative way.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 360

Fat 21 g

Sodium 450 mg

Carbohydrates 33 g

Saturated fat 12 g

Calcium 69 mg

Protein 10 g

Cholesterol 190 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1/2 medium-fat meat, 3 1/2 fat.

EGGS AND BACON PASTA NEST

Serves 6.

From Hali Ramdene for Better Homes and Garden.

8 ounces spaghetti noodles

8 slices bacon, halved and sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

7 eggs, divided

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

3/4 cup white Cheddar cheese, shredded

Fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Grease 6 (10-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Set aside.

Cook bacon until lightly brown; drain.

Heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet over low heat about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and discard garlic.

Whisk together olive oil, 1 egg, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Add pasta and bacon, toss until coated.

Twirl 1 cup pasta-bacon mixture using a fork; place in a ramekin. Create an indent in the center of each twirled nest. Repeat. Bake 5 minutes in oven.

Divide cheese among ramekins. Crack 1 egg into center of each ramekin. Return to oven.

Bake about 20 minutes more until egg yolks are set and egg whites are firm (do not overcook). Let stand 2 minutes. Remove from ramekins. Top with parsley.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 410

Fat 20 g

Sodium 490 mg

Carbohydrates 34 g

Saturated fat 7 g

Calcium 115 mg

Protein 21g

Cholesterol 245 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.

BAKED EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS AND BACON

Serves 8.

Note: From "The Summer Table" by Lisa Lemke.

Butter for the pan

8 eggs

8 strips cooked bacon

6 green asparagus spears, cut into large pieces

Salt and black pepper

Chile sauce for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 8 cups of a jumbo muffin pan or prepare a baking sheet with large, sturdy paper muffin liners — preferably double-layered so that they’re a little more stable.

Crack an egg in every cup and add 1 slice of cooked bacon. Distribute the asparagus in the cups. Season with salt and pepper, and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 17 minutes.

Serve the eggs warm and, preferably, with a good chile sauce.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 117

Fat 8 g

Sodium 200 mg

Carbohydrates 1 g

Saturated fat 3 g

Calcium 29 mg

Protein 9 g

Cholesterol 194 mg

Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat.

DEVILED HAM WITH EGGS

Makes 48 deviled eggs.

Note: From "Home" by Bryan Voltaggio.

24 eggs

1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tabspoons mayonnaise

4 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons pickle juice (from a jar of your favorite pickles)

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Deviled Ham (see recipe)

Peanut or canola oil, for frying

Leaves from 1 bunch celery

To cook the eggs: Put the eggs in a single layer in a large pot and cover with at least 2 inches cold water. Set the pot over high heat and, once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7 minutes; use a timer. When the time is up, remove from heat, strain and cover the eggs with ice water. Let them cool in the pot, about 15 minutes, then peel the eggs.

To make the filling: Cut a small slice off the bottom of each egg so that it will stand up without rolling. Cut the tops off each egg, scoop out the yolks, and put them in a food processor with the mayo, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, pickle juice, Tabasco and salt. Process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Reserve in the refrigerator while you make the Deviled Ham.

To prepare the garnish: Just before you are ready to serve the eggs, set a small pot with 2 inches of oil over medium-high heat and bring it to 350 degrees. Line a plate with paper towels. Rinse the celery leaves, pat them dry gently, but thoroughly, and drop them in the oil. Let them fry for 10 to 15 seconds, until the oil stops bubbling and they are crisp and translucent. Transfer to the paper towels, season lightly with salt, and let them cool.

To assemble the eggs: Take the piping bag with the Deviled Ham and fill each egg almost to the top. Take the bag with the egg yolk mixture and pipe it over the ham, mounding it slightly over the top of each egg. Garnish each egg with a piece of fried celery leaf and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per half egg:

Calories 103

Fat 9 g

Sodium 246 mg

Carbohydrates 1 g

Saturated fat 2 g

Calcium 17 mg

Protein 5 g

Cholesterol 100 mg

Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat.

DEVILED HAM

Makes about 2 cups.

Note: From "Home" by Bryan Voltaggio.

1 tablespoon light olive oil

1/2 onion, minced

2 1/2 cups diced honey ham

2 tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives

Grated zest of 1/2 orange

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 celery ribs, minced

Put the olive oil in a small sauté pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Put the ham, chives, orange zest, mayonnaise, mustard, Tabasco, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onions and celery. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:

Calories 71

Fat 7 g

Sodium 252 mg

Carbohydrates 0 g

Saturated fat 1g

Calcium 4 mg

Protein 3 g

Cholesterol 9 mg

Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat.

ASPARAGUS TART WITH CREAMY RICOTTA

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: From "The Summer Table" by Lisa Lemke.

Tart dough:

5 tablespoons cold butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Scant 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) small-curd cottage cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cold water

Filling:

2 to 3 garlic cloves

9 ounces (about 1 cup) ricotta

1/4 cup cooked and squeezed dry baby spinach

Scant 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2/3 cup grated aged cheese, like Parmesan or Pecorino, divided

Salt and black pepper

1/2 bunch green asparagus

3 to 4 eggs

Cut the butter into cubes. Quickly work together the butter, flours, cottage cheese and salt, either in a food processor or by hand in a bowl, until pea-sized clumps form. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons water and work together quickly into a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and cool in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a disk about 1/8 inch thick.

Add more flour to the surface as you roll so that the dough doesn’t stick. Line a 9-inch tart pan or springform pan with the dough. Be sure to press the dough gently along the bottom edge and pinch a little at the top of the side edges. Cut away the excess pie dough that may be hanging over the sides. Cover the pie shell with plastic wrap and let it cool in refrigerator 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove pie shell from refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and prick the bottom with a fork. Cover the edges with aluminum foil and prebake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottom is baked through and begins to brown. Remove the crust from the oven and remove the aluminum foil.

Chop the garlic and place in a bowl. Add the ricotta and blend together with the spinach, parsley and 2/3 of the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and distribute the filling evenly in the pie shell. Break off the tough parts of the asparagus. Spread the asparagus lengthwise over the ricotta mixture and lightly press it into the mixture. Crack the eggs over the filling, season with salt and pepper, and top with the rest of the grated cheese.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the eggs are set and the edges are golden brown.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 360

Fat 22 g

Sodium 516 mg

Carbohydrates 24 g

Saturated fat 13 g

Calcium 296 mg

Protein 18 g

Cholesterol 150 mg 

Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 1/2 bread/starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 2 1/2 fat.

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