Eggs-ceptional Memories

My late-Dad never met an egg he didn’t savor.

Indeed, among my earliest memories of my father are of him standing at the stove on weekends, cracking eggs. Sometimes he’d fry them up in butter, sunny-side up or scramble them with diced Spam or leftover bits of Chinese barbecued pork.

Other times, he’d flip them into omelets stuffed with melted cheddar cheese and sweet-acidic stewed tomatoes from a can. And now and then, he’d delicately bake them in individual Pyrex dishes dusted with bright paprika and Kraft Parmesan shaken right out of the familiar green can.

My Dad’s love of eggs didn’t stop at breakfast. Occasionally, when we’d sit down to a dinner of various Chinese dishes at home, my Dad would be at the stove, frying up an egg over-easy, which he deposited on top of the mound of steamed white rice on his plate. Then, he’d drizzle on a little thick, savory oyster sauce. I’d watch him break the bright yolk with his fork until it ran over the pearly grains. He never said a word as he took that first bite. But I could tell just from his contented expression that this simple combination of rice and egg was one that brought him untold comfort.

Is it any wonder that one of the first things I learned to cook by myself were eggs? I learned just by watching my Dad all those mornings, so that by the time I was in elementary school, I could whip up an omelet just like that or scramble a few eggs until they were lovely, fluffy, soft curds.

Even today, I share my Dad’s appreciation of eggs. No matter what time of day, if you have these inexpensive staples in the fridge, you have have the makings of a simple, satisfying meal. They’ve saved me many a time when I needed nourishment in a hurry for a harried lunch or late dinner.

When I saw “Shirred Eggs in Prosciutto Crudo Cups” in the new “Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) by my friends, the prolific cookbook authors, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, I knew it would be the perfect dish to make near Father’s Day in memory of my late-Dad.

To be sure, my Dad probably never even knew the term, “shirred.” No doubt, he would have thought the addition of prosciutto too fancy. Still, there’s no mistaking that at its heart, this dish of baked eggs is very reminiscent of what my Dad used to make for me as a child.

His ol’ Pyrex dish gives way to ramekins in this rendition. They’re lined with paper-thin slices of prosciutto crudo (the cured but technically “raw” ham that you all love wrapped with melon) to form “cups” that get baked in the oven till crisp. The “cups” will shrink a little, but don’t fret. Just dollop a little rosemary- and chive-infused cream on the bottom of them, then crack an egg into each one. Bake again until the eggs are set.  Serve with buttered toast, roasted potatoes, a light green salad or sauteed veggies.

The herbs add a brightness to the soft eggs enveloped in salty, sweet, rich porky flavor.

I dig my fork with pleasure into this flashback dish, which can’t help but make me think of my Dad, just as every wonderful egg dish does.

Shirred Eggs in Prosciutto Crudo Cups

(Makes 6 servings)

1/4  cup heavy or whipping cream

2 tablespoons minced chives or the green part of a scallion

2 tablespoons minced rosemary needles

Unsalted butter for greasing the muffin tin or ramekins

12 paper-thin prosciutto crudo slices

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Warm the cream, minced chives and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat just until little bubbles ring the inside of the pan, 3 or 4 minutes. Cover and set aside off the heat for 30 minutes to steep.

Meanwhile, set the rack in the middle of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 6 indentations in a standard (1/2 to 2/3 cup each)  muffin tin, or six 1/2 cup oven-safe ramekins.

Line each indentation or ramekin with 2 prosciutto crudo slices, crimping and overlapping them to create the outline of the indentation as well as a little lip on each. If necessary, tear strips so they fill the indentations without any gaps or holes.

Set tin in the oven or the ramekins on a baking sheet and then in the oven. In either case, bake until prosciutto begins to get crisp at its edges, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the very hot muffin tin or tray with the ramekins to a wire rack and divide cream mixture among the indentations, a scant tablespoon in each cup.

Crack an egg into each indentation, then top each egg with pepper. Set tin or tray with its ramekins back into the oven and bake just until eggs are set, about 8 minutes for a softer yolk and 12 minutes for a more set yolk.

From “Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough


Another Recipe from Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough: “Thyme Roasted Shrimp”

And Another: “Maple Blondies with Butterscotch and Cocoa Nibs”

More: “My Posh Pantry Pasta” and My First Experience with Farm-Fresh Eggs

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Date: Friday, 18. June 2010 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: General, Recipes (Savory)

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35 comments

  1. 1

    Beautiful story. I love that you count Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough as your friends. Ahhh your fabulously glamourous foodie life. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. :-)

  2. 2

    This is a sweet tribute to your dad. And: I too have drooled over this recipe in this fabulous book–and I’m not even an egg person! Your rendition looks picture-perfect!

  3. 3

    Beautiful – thanks for stopping by and introducing me to your blog. I’ll be back!

  4. 4

    What a lovely story about your dad. This is a beauty of a dish –so delicious. A nice combination of flavors too — I love the idea of using the prosciutto as a cup!

    Have a great weekend!

  5. 5

    What a pretty dish, but, yeah, I bet if I made this for my dad he’d also thought I was Mr. Fancy Pants. :) Prosciutto just goes with about everything huh?

  6. 6

    What a nice blog post about your dad! and a yummy recipe.

  7. 7

    I have to agree that egg is very versatile. The eggs in ‘in individual Pyrex dishes dusted with bright paprika and Kraft Parmesan shaken right out of the familiar green can’ sounds very intriguing!

  8. 8

    Nice story about your dad :-) The egg dish with prosciutto looks fabulous…great combination of flavors :-) Nice pictures!

  9. 9

    this sounds delicious! i’m hungry!

  10. 10

    I love it when you share memories about your parents and childhood! My man loves eggs too and I know I can always satisfy him with an egg burrito.

  11. 11

    The egg is the saviour ingredient in everyone’s kitchen. What is one to do without it? I, for one,am always on a look out for interesting egg recipes. This is simple and looks comforting! Thanks for sharing.

  12. 12

    A beautiful story to go with a beautiful recipe.
    I’m an egg-lover myself so you can be sure i’ll be making this recipe soon. It looks wonderful.

  13. 13

    There is nothing better than some over-easy eggs over rice! :)

    Love the Shirred Eggs in Prosciutto Crudo Cups recipe!

  14. 14

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful food memory. I remember those fried eggs drizzled with oyster sauce too! My late Shanghainese grandmother used to make them all the time for us for our lunches. Haven’t had it in eons – need to make it again. :)

  15. 15

    So well dressed is the egg! I adore your writings for your parents.

  16. 16

    My dad was always the eggmaker in the house as well. He loved having omelets and such for dinner.

    This is one seriously dressed up baked egg dish. I’m sure your dad would have loved it!

  17. 17

    Okay, now you got me really really craving eggs! My dad and I are like your dad…we LOVE eggs, and I can order them in a fancy restaurant, too. I love them in all forms, except hard-boiled. Did you dad like century eggs, salted duck eggs, etc too?

  18. 18

    I’m the opposite of that first post: I love that YOU count us as your friends.

    And I love eggs I just can’t tell you how happy they make me. I almost never have them at breakfast–but save them for lunch or even dinner (especially with a glass of red wine on the side). My dad always ate them scrambled, with ketchup. I guess red wine is the new ketchup?

  19. 19

    I love hearing stories about Dads who cooked or still cook since my Dad never did. How fun to have learned about cooking eggs from your Dad. Great-looking shirred eggs too!

  20. 20

    […] Food Gal » Blog Archiv » Eggs-ceptional Memories […]

  21. 21

    Loved the story and recipe. Bookmarked and will make soon. Thanks!

  22. 22

    What a wonderful story about your dad. Its funny, but until I read this it just occurred to me that dad was the egg maker in our family. Every Sunday when we got home from church and were going to sit down for breakfast, more often than not it was to a plate of steaming and delicious scrambled eggs that my dad created for us.

    That recipe just sounds so yummy.

  23. 23

    Gorgeous! The eggs look so good with the prosciutto! A wonderful tribute to your dad!

  24. 24

    I’ve always wanted to cook eggs in a ramekin just like this cos I have never cooked them before this way! And boy we love runny yolks :)

  25. Heavenly housewife
    Sunday, 20. June 2010 4:59
    25

    My dad used to make us eggs all the time, maybe that’s why I love them so much :)

  26. 26

    Dad’s are great at breakfast! My dad loves to make pancakes :-)

  27. 27

    I always love the stories about your parents! I agree with your Dad–over easy eggs on top of rice is a lovely and simple pleasure.

  28. 28

    this could be my perfect egg too! I just love reading this recipe of yours! :)

  29. 29

    What lovely memories of your father. The shirred eggs in prosciutto sound wonderful, but what I can’t stop thinking about are the over-easy eggs with oyster sauce and rice – YUM!

  30. 30

    This dish would certainly make your Dad very proud! It looks delicious – I can tell that if you break into that egg, there is a rich and runny and ultra delicious yolk waiting!

  31. 31

    Great story Carolyn. Eggs remind me of my grandfather who would crack open a raw farm fresh egg every morning into a bowl and have it with just a splash of soy sauce. I was always too scared of eating a raw egg as a kid (given all the horror stories we here in the US), but he never seemed to get sick and he also got that contented look on his face after tipping back the bowl and slurping down the slippery egg.

  32. 32

    Hi Carolyn,

    I’ve always believe that our tastes in food is shaped by our parents since young.
    This looks like a tasty dish with a good balance of saltiness from prosciutto and creaminess of the soft set eggs. Yum.

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