The “Baked Eggs in Ham Cups” were delicious. This was one of the featured #CookClub recipes in December so I decided to try it for our Christmas Breakfast. I made a few changes to the original recipe by substituting butter for the pesto and baked them in mini-pie pans, then topped them with grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese as they came out of the oven.
I decided to try them on Jackson before Christmas morning to see if the liked them and ended up making them everyday for breakfast right up to and including Christmas morning. A new and easy year round breakfast dish.
Since reading, “Dishes and Beverages of the Old South” by Martha McCulloch-Williams I had wanted to try her recipe for
Baked Eggs: These most nearly approximate the flavor of roasted ones. Break fresh eggs at the small ends, drain away the whites, break down the shells to deepish cups, each with a yolk at bottom, sprinkle yolks lightly with salt and pepper, add a bit of butter to each, then set shells upright, close over the bottom of a pan, pop the pan into a hot oven, bake twenty minutes, and serve piping hot. This Mammy gave us to keep from wasting yolks when wedding or Christmas cake demanded many whites for frosting (pg 179).
Baked Eggs in Ham Cups
Unsalted butter, for tins
4 1/16-inch-thick round ham slices, about 5 inches around
2 teaspoons pesto
4 large eggs
8 cubes fresh mozzarella
4 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Butter 4 compartments of a metal muffin tin. (Cups should be at least 2 inches deep.) Fold each ham slice into quarters, insert the point end in a buttered muffin cup, and let it open — it will have a ruffled look. Place 1/2 teaspoon pesto in the bottom of each ham cup, then carefully crack 1 egg into the cup. Tuck 2 mozzarella cubes and two cherry tomato halves into each cup on top of the eggs and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. (Remember that the ham and pesto both lend saltiness to the dish.)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the egg white looks set but the yolk is still a bit runny. Remove the ham cups from the muffin tin and serve on individual plates or lined up on a platter.
Source: Adapted from Gale Gand’s Brunch! (Clarkson Potter, 2009)
and Janet K. Keeler, Times Staff Writer
#CookClub recipe No. 32: Baked Eggs in Ham Cups
Also from Dishes & Beverages of the Old South
Eggs: Eggs demand an introductory paragraph. As everybody knows, there are eggs and eggs. An egg new-laid has a tiny air-space at each end, betwixt the shell and the silken lining membrane. If left lying, this confined air changes its locality—leaves the ends for the upmost side of the shell. Shells are porous—through them the white evaporates—thus the air bubble on top gets bigger and bigger. By the size of it you can judge fairly the egg’s age—unless it has been kept in cold storage or in water-glass. By boiling hard, throwing in cold water and peeling intact, you can see for yourself if a fresh egg so-called is truly fresh. If fresh there will be no perceptible marring of its oval—but if it shows a shrinkage, and especially if the yolk is so near the shell it shows through the cooked white, there is proof positive that the egg is not new-laid—though it may be perfectly wholesome.
Eggs kept in clean cool space do not deteriorate under a month. Even after that, thus well kept, they answer for cake making, puddings and so on. But they have an ungodly affinity for taints of almost every kind. Hence keep them away from such things as onions, salt fish, things in brine generally, or any strong ill odors.
Duck eggs are bigger than hen eggs—eight of them being the equivalent to ten. Goose eggs run almost two for one. Turkey eggs, rarely used in cookery, are still excellent eating, much better flavored than duck eggs, which are often rather rank. Here as otherwheres, food is the determining factor. Guinea eggs, in spite of being so much smaller, are equal in raising power and in richness to hen eggs. Indeed, they are the best of all eggs for eating—rich, yet delicate. The only approach to them is the quail egg—we called it always a partridge egg—but only special favorites of the gods have any chance of ever tasting them. Quail nest frequently in wheat fields—at harvest, the uncovered nests yielded choice spoil. Daddy claimed the lion’s share of it for “my white chilluns.”
Often he came with his big hat-crown running over full of the delicate white ovals. Mormonism must prevail in quail circles—sometimes there were forty eggs in a nest. It would have been vandalism of the worst to eat them, only it was no use leaving them bare to the sun, as the birds abandoned them unless they had begun brooding. In that case the mother sat so tight, occasionally the reaper, passing over, took off her head. More commonly she flew away just in time, whirring up between the mules, with a great pretense of lameness. If the nest by good luck was discovered in time, grain was left standing about it. Nobody grudged the yard or so of wheat lost for the sake of sport.
Partridge eggs were boiled hard, and eaten out of hand—they were much too thin-shelled for roasting, in spite of having a very tough lining membrane. With guinea eggs there was quite another story. They have shells extra thick and hard—hence were laid plentifully in hot ashes, heaped over with live coals and left as long as our patience held out. When Mammy pulled them out, it was maddening to see her test them. She laid a short broom straw delicately on each egg. If it whirled round, the egg was done—if contrariwise it fell off, it had to go back in the embers. She had no thought of letting us eat eggs not cooked till the yolk was mealy. To this day I am firmly of opinion she was wise—and right. Eggs roasted as she roasted them have a flavor wholly beyond and apart from those cooked in any other way.
(Dishes and Beverages of the Old South, facsimile reproduction of the 1913 versions, is a part of the public domain and can also be found at Project Gutenberg online at www.gutenberg.org )