Shirred Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme, plus 2 teaspoons chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 paper thin slices prosciutto
  • Four 1-inch-thick slices ciabatta bread, crusts trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • Pinch sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Set two oven racks in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put the cream, rosemary leaves and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature while you proceed.
  3. Butter two 4-ounce ramekins with the softened butter. Line each ramekin with two slices of the prosciutto. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet and bake until the prosciutto is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. While the prosciutto crisps, cut each slice of ciabatta into two sticks. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden brown and crisp on the outside but still tender, about 8 minutes. Toss with the chives and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the grape tomatoes, sugar and some salt and pepper; cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly caramelized and starting to collapse but still intact, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the chopped thyme and set aside.
  6. When the prosciutto is crisp, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add 1 egg to each cup, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the whites are set around the edges, about 4 minutes. Spoon some of the cream over the eggs, return to the oven and bake until the whites are completely set, and the yolks are just set but still runny, another 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Transfer the ramekins to napkin-lined saucers. Top each ramekin with some Parmesan, a spoonful of the tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the toasted ciabatta.

Notes after the first trial

Really need to calibrate my oven - the 4 minute stretches in the recipe took more like 6 or 8 minutes. The prosciutto shrank away from the sides and into the ramekin - more butter rubbbed on the inside might help, but my wife suggested using chunks of bacon in the cream instead. I used Swiss cheese instead of parmesan and I think it added to the creamyness and richness of the dish. Chives on top of the eggs before serving was awesome. During the last 5 minutes I increased the temperature of the oven to 375º which resulted in the cream/whites bubbling up and mixing together really well. More evidence that I need to calibrate my oven.