I've been thinking lately about New Year's Day brunch. It's a tradition my husband and I have celebrated for twenty-five years with the same three couples. I usually don't start planning my menu until December, but these early musings must be due to our opting out last year, for the first time ever. Our daughter was married in November, and after the wedding I was totally burned out (I made over 1,000 marshmallows as guest favors). I felt awful cancelling the brunch, but I just didn't have it in me. This year, however, it will be different. Today I made Baked Eggs with Serrano Ham, Creamed Spinach, and Parmesan, and I am thinking this could be a possible contender for one of the brunch courses come January 1st. Other than the simple preparation of the creamed spinach, this recipe goes together quickly.
< Paper-thin slices of Serrano ham are used to line the muffin cups. The 3-ounce, 5-slice packages I purchased will each make five baked egg cups. Each slice is cut in half, with the halves criss-crossing to line one cup.
Nests of creamed spinach are formed on top of the ham. Creamed spinach has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. On a family vacation to Chicago when is was eight years old, we dined at the historic Berghoff Restaurant for dinner. When my mother didn't see creamed spinach on the menu, she called over the waiter and told him that the kitchen needed to make some for me... They did.
+Baked Eggs with Serrano Ham, Creamed Spinach & Parmesan
• 6 slices Serrano ham
• Creamed Spinach (recipe follows)
• 6 large eggs
• Freshly-ground pepper
• Grated Parmesan cheese
• Chopped fresh chives, for finishing
1. Grease 6 muffin cups (non-stick preferred) with butter. Slice a strip of Serrano ham in half and line a muffin cup by criss crossing the halves. Repeat with the remaining ham. Fill each muffin cup with 3 generous tablespoons of creamed spinach. Using a small spoon, gently press the spinach into the mold forming a nest. Crack an egg into each spinach "nest"; sprinkle with freshly-ground pepper and Parmesan cheese.
2. Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until eggs are just set (or to your liking). Remove from oven and let cool briefly before unmolding. Use a sharp knife to pry the baked eggs from the mold. Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving.
+inspired by a recipe from Emeril Lagasse
• 2 pounds frozen chopped spinach
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/3 cup chopped shallots
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
1. Defrost the spinach; squeeze as much moisture as possible from the spinach.
2. Melt the butter in a 2 quart sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring often until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and heavy cream. When heated through, remove from heat and serve immediately.
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