I have something of a soft spot for adorable dishware. Over the years of thrift-store-shopping and yard-sale-trolling, I've amassed several shelves of precariously-stacked darling-yet-mismatched bowls and saucers. There's something about a fetching little plate that makes anything on it — heck, even a mid-day snack of carrot sticks — seem like an elegant treat. And so when my friend Leela packed her epic collection of kitchen gear up for her *sniff* relocation to California, I was happy to seize upon the spoils.
Tucked within the embarrassingly large stack of textured plates, wooden spoons, and eggshell-blue bowls that I hauled off were three delicate little white ramekins, like miniature shallow casserole dishes. Leela noted that she'd bought them intending to make baked eggs, so I figured I'd help them realize their destiny.
I've long been eying this recipe from Jenn Louis, a local Portland chef with a national reputation. And it's so simple. Crack two eggs, top with a few torn-up olives and a little pour of heavy cream, then bake until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny (or, if you're like me, just a minute past that). Then top all that creamy, briny, richness with a sprinkling of crisp bread crumbs and fresh thyme leaves, and serve with a fork and toast.
I'm usually one to throw a handful of greens into my eggs, or nestle them in a puddle of salsa or tomato sauce. But this simplicity is surprisingly perfect, especially with delicious orange-yolked farm eggs. The cream thickens and cloaks the olive-studded eggs, keeping them nice and tender, and the crunchy breadcrumbs and fragrant thyme leaves add a just enough subtle contrast. It's one of those dishes that's indescribably better than the sum of its parts. Especially when one of those parts is an adorable little dish that reminds you of your friend.
Baked Eggs with Olives and Cream
adapted from Jenn Louis, via Culinate
serves 1 (multiply as needed)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons cream, divided
2 olives (Louis recommends the meaty green Castelvetranos), thwacked with a knife to loosen from the pit, and torn into 2-3 pieces
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 sprig thyme leaves
toasted crusty bread, for serving (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit, and butter an adorable little ramekin (or similar oven-proof dish).
Crack the two eggs into your ramekin, then pour the cream over them and scatter the olive pieces. Season with a bit of salt, and then place in the oven. Bake until whites are set but the yolks are runny, ~7-9 minutes.
When the eggs are done to your liking, remove and top with an even sprinkle of the bread crumbs, scattering of thyme leaves, and additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve at once, with bread if desired.