I could easily say that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day; probably the result of my extreme fondness for eggs. From a simple soft-boiled egg to a baked strata or frittata loaded with vegetables and cheese, I am always content with an egg as my meal.
And I am now making breakfast during the week far more often than I ever did. Before, baked breakfasts were reserved for weekends when my family was home and able to relax. Weekdays, my husband and daughters were out-the-door before 7:30 a.m., never allowing enough time to fully enjoy a proper breakfast. Bagels with peanut butter, bowls of yogurt with granola, and fruit smoothies had to suffice.
But with my husband now home after taking early retirement a little over a year ago, I am more likely to prepare a substantial breakfast -- or, I should say, "brunch". I spend my early mornings with a cappuccino and the paper, then feed and walk my French Bulldog, Pipi. It's usually 10 a.m. before I get hungry enough to even think about starting breakfast.
Baked Eggs in Potato Nests were a recent breakfast-lunch for us. They are similar to the savory tarts and frittatas I often make; filled with whatever I find in the refrigerator. Bake, scoop out the potatoes, and store shells in the refrigerator the day before you plan to fill, twice-bake, and serve. Then, no matter when you start your breakfast, it goes together quickly.
Plan on 1 large or 2 small potatoes per serving
1. The day before you plan to serve the stuffed potatoes, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Wash, dry, and lightly rub the baking potatoes with oil. Pierce the potatoes, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from oven and cool briefly. When cool enough to handle, slice about 1/4-inch off the top of the potato. Scoop out the flesh of the potato to within 1/4-inch of the shell. Refrigerate potato shells until ready to finish.
2. You can be very creative with the potato filling and the amount of filling you will need depends on the size of your potatoes. I made 3 large potatoes and filled them with spinach, smoked salmon, Parmesan cheese, and an egg. I began by warming a drizzle of olive oil in my pan. To that, I added a large handful of fresh spinach which I sautéed until just wilted. I added about 1/3 cup chopped, smoked salmon to the spinach and divided the mixture between the potato shells. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add a good sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese to the salmon-spinach mix.
3. Crack 1 or 2 eggs (dependent on the size of the potatoes) over the filling and sprinkle eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the filled potatoes in a lightly oiled, ovenproof skillet or baking pan. Bake in the middle of a preheated 375˚F oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, until the yolks are just set, or done to your liking.
4. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.
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