Eggs are a cheap and easy source of protein, but you can get tired of the same old way of preparing them, i.e. scrambling and frying. These easy baked eggs (also called shirred eggs) are an elegant alternative.
Prepared in individual ramekins on a bed of baby spinach -- abundant this time of year in farmers markets -- this recipe is about as divine as they come. Instead of the usual salt and pepper, the eggs gets their zing from an onion-y yogurt sauce and a liberal dusting of sumac, a ground fruit with a bright and tangy flavor that's a favorite in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.
The original recipe calls for labneh, a soft cheese made from strained yogurt, but I used Greek yogurt with terrific results.
Paired with a salad and buttered toast, this dish makes a simple, rustic brunch or dinner. But it's also delicious for breakfast.
BAKED EGGS WITH SPINACH, YOGURT AND SUMAC
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
Big handful baby spinach leaves
8 large eggs
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon grated sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 slices good bread for toast
Sumac, for garnish
Arrange rack in center of oven preheated to 375 degrees. Set a large kettle of water to boil.
Generously brush 4 6-ounce ramekins with some of the melted butter. Line bottom of each dish with1/4 of the baby spinach. Crack 2 eggs into each dish.
In small bowl, whisk the yogurt, onion and salt with a tablespoon of water to make a sauce the consistency of heavy cream.
Spoon a couple tablespoons of sauce over the egg white in each dish, avoiding the yolk so that it will stay a lovely bright yellow. Season each egg with a pinch of salt.
Place ramekins on a 2-inch deep baking dish and place dish in the oven on the center rack. Fill pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the egg dishes, taking care not to get any water in the eggs. Bake eggs for about 15 to 17 minutes, or until the whites are cooked and yolks are still bright yellow and jiggle when shaken. Toward the end of the baking time, toast and butter the bread. (I cooked my eggs for about 18 minutes.)
Remove baking dish from oven and carefully remove each ramekin from hot water, drying the ramekins off. Drizzle the eggs with melted butter and dust eggs with sumac. Serve immediately, placing each hot ramekin on a plate with buttered toast.
Makes 4 servings.
-- Adapted from "Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen" by Maureen Abood (Running Press, April 2015, $30)