For Wednesday night, we planned a simple dinner of Herbed-Baked Eggs, from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook, French bread and green salad. It turned out it was a lesson in paying attention and following the directions. Kim shares her lessons learned.
I’ve made this recipe before. It’s simple. It’s easy to follow. It’s delicious. This time–not quite as tasty as normal. In short, I overcooked the eggs, but more on how that happened in a moment.
I started first by making a simple salad dressing of fresh lemon juice (about half a large lemon), half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper. I set this aside, put some baby salad greens and chopped parsley into a large bowl, and then turned my attention to the eggs.
For the eggs, I began with the herb mixture (probably going a bit heavy since we tend to like fresh herbs a lot.) The herb mixture is super simple: a little bit of fresh garlic (I used one small clove), minced thyme, minced rosemary, chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, which I combined into a small ramekin. I set this aside. So far so good!
I then got the eggs ready by getting down two bowls and cracking three eggs into each bowl. About this time, I turned on the broiler. I thought the top rack seemed a little close…and the directions are pretty clear: put the rack 6 inches below the heat. I probably should have measured or checked again…but I didn’t.
Into each of two gratin dishes (placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to keep them from sliding) I put one tablespoon of cream and half a tablespoon of butter. Into the oven it went for three minutes.
During the three minutes, I noticed a faint smell of burning. It was the parchment paper. This should have been my second clue that maybe the rack was a little too close to the broiler. But I pressed on, even though the mixture was definitely bubbly and almost starting to burn, once again making no adjustments to the placement of the rack.
The next step of quickly and carefully poring the eggs into each gratin dish went smoothly as did sprinkling on the herb mixture and the salt and pepper. Back under the broiler they went for five minutes. What came out was not the slightly runny eggs that I was used but something much more firm and well, a little tiny bit burned on top. I was so disappointed and at this point I was really sure the rack was too close. Despite my protests, Tony convinced me to have serve it any way.
The eggs were fine but it was a little more like having our own frittata or omelet than baked eggs. The herbs in them were still delicious. The salad was a perfect pairing and overall the whole dinner was saved by an incredible selection by Wines by the Flask of Graham Beck’s Brut (sparking wine). It was dry, delicious and a perfect match.
For the record, I did go back and measure the position of the racks. The first one is four inches from the broiler, the second one is seven inches from the broiler. I strongly suspect that when I’ve made this before, I had the rack placed seven inches from the broiler. I’ll be making this again soon with adjustment so the placement of the rack. Stay tuned!