I love serving Sunday brunch at home; it is so relaxing, especially with an easy-to-make dish like this. Since I already had parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta in my refrigerator and a basil plant growing in my kitchen, it was an easy decision to make this an Italian-style breakfast.
As you can see from the photos, the parbaked eggs do resemble clouds. The egg whites have a wonderful fluffy, yet slightly crisp texture when cooked. The runny egg yolk oozed out as I broke it with my fork and complemented the basil, parmesan, and pancetta flavors. You can see the all the bits of flavor speckled all over the golden brown “cloud”. This was such a fun breakfast to cook and the baked eggs made such a beautiful presentation.
Next time, I might add chorizo, roasted chiles, and smoked paprika instead to make a Southwest-inspired dish or perhaps use tarragon, ground mustard, and Gruyère cheese. How about you? How would you make this recipe your own?
Italian-Style Eggs in Clouds
Yields 4 servings
1 1/2 ounces grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped
2 to 3 ounces cooked pancetta or prosciutto, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Separate the eggs, putting whites in a very clean work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Residual oil or any of the egg yolk in the bowl will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly into stiff peaks. Place the yolks into 4 separate small bowls. Be careful not to break the yolks. Whip egg whites on low speed and then slowly increasing speed to high, until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Gently fold in cheese, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta, taking care not to deflate the egg whites. Spoon egg mixture into 4 equal mounds on prepared baking sheet. Season with black pepper. Make a well in center of each and bake for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and add one egg yolk in each well. Season yolk only with salt and black pepper, as the parmesan and pancetta in the egg white mixture might already be salty.
Bake until egg whites are golden brown and egg yolks are just set, about 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine.
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