Baked Eggs in Butternut Squash Rings
Spring may have sprung, but winter squash hasn’t fallen out of favor yet. At least not in my kitchen.
So, how could I resist these darling “Baked Eggs in Butternut Squash Rings”?
The recipe is from the new “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” (Harper Horizon), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Lisa Steele, who has raised chickens for more than a dozen years on her farm in Maine, and is the founder of the blog, Fresh Eggs Daily.
It includes more than 100 recipes highlighting eggs in every which way. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Isn’t it bad to eat eggs every single day? Won’t my cholesterol go through the roof?” The answer is: No. Not if you’re a relatively healthy person. That’s according to the Mayo Clinic, which stated in an article last year, “Research shows that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to negatively affect the human body compared to other sources of cholesterol. For example, eggs typically are eaten with other foods high in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol, such as bacon, cheese and butter. These foods are known to increase the risk of heart disease, and they should be eaten sparingly.”
So, there’s your go-ahead to get cracking. Steele offers helpful info on how to read the codes on egg cartons, the best way to beat egg whites, and how to tell if an egg is fresh or older. Recipes include “Salt-Cured Eggs,” “Cardamom Streusel Blueberry Muffins,” “Tomato Caprese Quiche,” and “Orange Brandy Olive Oil Cake.”
The butternut squash doesn’t even need to be peeled for this recipe. Just slice them into rings, removing the seeds and any stringy bits. Once you hit the solid part of the squash, you’ll want to carve out a circle in the center of each ring, kind of like punching out the center of a doughnut. Don’t worry if all your squash rings aren’t the same size or if their cut-out centers aren’t perfectly alike. That just adds to their rustic charm.
They get brushed with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper, before roasted in the oven.
The squash rings are pretty much cooked through before you crack an egg into the center of each one, then slide the pan back in the oven to cook until they set. To serve, just sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and fresh sage leaves.
The squash is sweet and autumnal tasting, and just deliriously delicious when you puncture the oozy egg yolk all over it. Parmesan cheese makes nearly everything better, and the sage adds a lifting citrus, pine, and almost menthol-like note.
This dish is perfect for brunch or lunch. It even makes for a nice supper paired with a salad and crusty bread. High in fiber, the squash makes this a pretty filling dish, especially if you indulge in two per serving for dinner.
Butternut squash differ in size, of course. If you wind up with a very large one, with more squash leftover than you need for the six rings, just roast the rest alongside the cut-out rings. Then, save for another day, adding chunks to a salad or chunky veggie soup.
Baked Eggs in Butternut Squash Rings
(Makes 3 to 6 servings)
1 large butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh sage for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the squash and cut crosswise into six 3/4- to 1-inch slices. Scoop out the seeds and hollow out the middle of each slice to allow room for an egg.
Arrange the squash on the baking sheet and brush each ring with olive oil inside and out, then season with salt and pepper. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes or so, until the squash has softened. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently crack and slide 1 egg into the center of each squash ring. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and return to the oven. Bake about 8 minutes, until the egg whites are set and the yolks are firm but not fully set.
Use a spatula to slide the squash rings onto plates. Top with Parmesan, garnish with fresh sage, and drizzle with olive oil.
Adapted from “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” by Lisa Steele
More Fun Egg Dishes to Try: Mother Hen Toast