Friday, April 3, 2015

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms

As I type this, there are eggs hard-boiling in my kitchen and a large bowl filled with the beginnings of this Greek Easter Bread recipe for all the festivities we will participate in this weekend. Like many home cooks, holidays are always filled with food traditions over here and I enjoy preparing recipes, both new and old to serve to the ones I love. Maybe I'm too late and you already have your Easter menu set, but if you need a last minute egg dish, I've got one to share that is sure to impress. This will be the second year and running that it has been a part of our Easter celebrations and I'm pretty sure it's here to stay. Firstly, it couldn't be easier to throw together and secondly, you can prepare the majority of it ahead of time, making the actual-day that much simpler. Plus, it contains more spinach than any recipe in the history of recipes and you would never even know it. Wilted spinach is certainly God's gift to the veggie-aversive individual who can't fathom the idea of eating a plateful of the fresh stuff. Seriously, this 9 x 13-inch pan contains 2 pounds of spinach and married with the cream and nutmeg, it is simply delicious. 
Anyway, the original-original recipe was published in Gourmet Magazine and then adapted by Smitten Kitchen and then lightened ever so slightly by me. So, I'm really not sure who to give the credit too. Like I said before, you can make the spinach and mushroom mixture ahead of time, all the way up until just before you crack the eggs into the 9 x 13-inch dish. Before you get started, just a little cooking tip: follow the directions closely because it is really easy to overcook the eggs and there is no turning back once the yolks have turned hard. Once baked, the eggs in the center are more likely to be a little bit runny while the ones of the edges will be more firm. This variation is to be expected and everyone likes their eggs to a different degree of doneness so don't wait for all the eggs to firm up before you take them out of the oven.
Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
(adapted very slightly from Smitten Kitchen)
2 pounds (32 ounces) fresh spinach
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ cup half and half
½ cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
12 large eggs
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 1/2 inch water to a boil in a very large skillet, then add half of spinach and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add remaining spinach and wilt. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until spinach is tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Gently squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible and then coarsely chop (you should end up with about 2 cups fairly tightly packed cooked spinach).
Wipe skillet dry, then melt butter over medium-low heat. Cook onion and garlic until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high, stirring, until mushrooms have softened and any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in half and half, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and chopped spinach and bring back a simmer. Remove skillet from heat.
Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Using 2 teaspoons, create 12, evenly-spaced “wells” for the eggs by pressing the back of the spoons together to “pinch” up the spinach mixture to form taller walls so that the eggs will not merge together.
Do ahead: You can prepare the dish until this point and then set it aside for a few hours or up to one day in the fridge, covered.
When you’re ready to bake the dish, or about 30 minutes before serving, put oven rack in upper third of oven and heat oven to 450°F. Crack an egg into each well. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still runny. You can check this by inserting a toothpick into various parts of the eggs and seeing whether they’re runny or set, which takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes (the range is long due to different ovens and baking dishes).
Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, plus grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Serves 12

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posted by kelsie