Meat Lite: Baked Eggs With Mushrooms, Cheddar, and Ham


As an almost-vegetarian, I consume a lot of eggs, and I'm sure that I'm not alone. Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients in the food universe, marrying, as they do, with nearly every savory food out there and many a sweet, too. So when it comes to getting creative with 'em, and not falling into the same omelet or scramble or sunnyside-up rut, it's pretty hard to go wrong. Rather than worry about which ingredients I'll pair with my eggs, I like to challenge myself to switch up my cooking method.

Ever since I was a child and happened to catch an episode of one of Julia Child's shows in which she whips up oeufs en cocotte, or whole eggs baked in cream in ramekins in the oven, I've been curious about the dish. Don't ask me why I didn't get around to trying it until this week, but now these rich, tender eggs are going to become a staple in my repertoire.

The process couldn't be simpler. You grease a ramekin, slip in a bit of cream, add your flavorings and eggs, then bake in a water bath in the oven until the whites are set but the yolks still runny. In just about ten minutes, you'll have a creamy, flavorful plate of eggs that just cries out for crispy piece of toast.

You can go a million ways with your flavorings here, but I chose a simple sauté of button mushrooms, and ham. The tender, pork-infused mushrooms go especially well with the eggs, and a topping of grated cheddar cheese gilds the lily, bringing extra creaminess and savoriness to this ultimate brunch—or light(-ish) lunch—dish.