My friend Amanda over at Rooster & Wheat posted her own version of baked eggs & kale a while back, inspiring me to do something with my greens other than blend it into a fruit smoothie. I tried her recipe the very day she posted it. (I LOVE eggs.) It was delicious, but I did something wrong. I mustn’t have the deft hand that she did, or perhaps my cheap gas oven (ah, the joys of renting) was creating a wonky result. Either way, I couldn’t get my egg whites to cook properly and my kale, on the other hand, was much too undercooked.
Then came my September 2012 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. In it: Perfect Baked Eggs Florentine. Taking a page out of Cook’s Illustrated, and using kale instead of spinach, emerged my own version, so delicious that it’s a weekend go-to although it requires a bit of patience, something I’m often lacking after “accidentally” sleeping in.
Baked Eggs & Kale (serves 2)
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground nutmeg
Salt & pepper, to taste
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly spray two oven-safe ramekins with cooking spray. In a skillet, heat about a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add kale in handfuls at a time until it wilts. Season with a couple shakes each of garlic and onion powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper and hit it with a bit of freshly ground nutmeg.
Fill ramekins with kale, making an indentation in the middle where the eggs will go and building it up around the edges. This is so that the eggs are never in direct contact with your cooking vessel. Place in oven for about six to seven minutes rotating half-way through, just until the kale starts to brown.
In the meantime, pour two eggs each into separate vessels. This is so that the whites combine when you pour them into the ramekins. Cracking them into the ramekins would not allow the whites to meld, just as they wouldn’t if you were frying an egg in a pan. This is a great trick for any egg cooking!
When the kale is done, pour the eggs into each ramekin and give them a light spray with cooking spray and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Then, back in the oven for another 6-8 minutes, rotating half way through again.
The eggs, after this time, should be jiggly and the whites just barely set. The yolks will probably not be. That’s ok!
Sprinkle parmesan on top and throw them under the broiler for about a minute or two, just enough to melt the cheese but being careful not to overcook the eggs. Don’t leave the kitchen!
Let the ramekins cool on wire racks for about 9 or 10 minutes. The residual heat will continue to cook the egg whites while leaving a soft yolk. Happy weekend breakfasting!