Shirred Eggs and Ham
Yield: 6 servings
Recipes for eggs seasoned and baked in an earthenware dish were popular in 19th-century cookbooks, including Fannie Farmer's original Boston Cooking-School Cookbook. The name for this recipe comes from the flat-bottomed dish, or shirrer, in which they were traditionlly cooked. These days, shirred eggs are usually baked in ramekins (as pictured here). But in this easier, fantastic brunch variation, we line muffin cups with thin slices of ham and then drop in the eggs before baking. It's a fast, pretty, and delicious way to serve breakfast for a crowd.
- 12 pieces thinly sliced ham
- 12 medium eggs
- 12 teaspoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 6 teaspoons pimentos, drained (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Garnish: 4 strands fresh chive
- Boiling water
Preheat oven to 325°. Mist 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Line each cup with a slice of ham (cut ham into strips and layer if you're having trouble getting a good fit). Into each cup crack 1 egg; add 1 teaspoon cream, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, a pinch of zest, and 1/2 teaspoon pimentos. Add pepper to taste (the ham and cheese provide enough salt). Using scissors, snip a little chive over each cup.
Set a baking dish (large enough to hold the muffin tins) on a rack in the middle of the oven, and pour one inch of boiling water into dish. Set muffin cups in water bath and bake eggs until whites are opaque, 12 to 15 minutes for medium-hard-cooked eggs. Use a spatula to remove eggs onto a small, shallow serving dish.