Christmas morning might be a good time for something a little different and special that won’t take you hours of effort. These lovely little eggs-in-a-nest came from Bobbie Lehigh in Eastport. Her daughter, Kim Crabill of Portland, rediscovered the recipe in one of Bobbie’s cookbooks, “A 1994 Hometown Collection American’s Best Recipes,” during a visit this past September. And the adaptability of this recipe is pretty high, too.
The recipe came from Helen C. Felton who entered the recipe in a cookbook called “Cooking with Grace,” a community cookbook assembled for Grace Church School Parents’ Association in New York City. Now you just never know, do you, where your recipe might end up when you offer it to a community organization for their fundraiser.
Bobbie described Kim as gleeful with her success with the eggs. She surmised some of you readers could stand a little glee, too, as she said, “in these very difficult to watch days.”
All you have to do is separate the eggs, beat the whites into stiff peaks for a meringue to spread on a slice of bread. You make a dent deep enough in the meringue to cradle the yolk, and then bake it. Bobbie wrote, “Kim and I thought a thin piece of ham, or bacon (cooled and cut up) or a slice of cheese would be nice added to the bread before the meringue is put on the bread, or/and an herb added to the meringue. Anyway, see what you can do with it.”
So I thought I would. I took the herb-in-the-meringue route and crumbled dried dill into the egg white before beating them, then folded in some grated Parmesan cheese before spreading it on the bread. Really tasty. And fast, even though I used my favorite hand-cranked egg beater — one that belonged to my Grandma. It’ll go faster if you use an electric beater.
Adding meat certainly is a fine idea. I might add ham sometime in the future, and it will be very thinly sliced so you can cut off a bite-sized piece with a fork. Salmon would be delicious, too. Thinly sliced cheese — cheddar, Swiss, or provolone — would be delicious. A thin layer of ricotta would be good, too, especially if enhanced with basil and/or garlic, or some other favorite herb. What about the spicier end of the spectrum? A bit of red pepper, or pepper jack cheese tucked in there somewhere would work, too.
The recipe below makes one serving. Just multiply the quantities by one for each person you are cooking for. One more thing: a tiny pinch of cream of tartar beaten into an egg white helps it remain stiff.
Once the ruckus of opening stockings and cleaning up the wrapping paper mess is over, a dodge into the kitchen to whip these eggs up for breakfast or brunch will provide the needed to work through dinner preparations later in the day. And they will say “Merry Christmas” to your family the way a bowl of cold cereal simply can’t manage.
Eggs in a Nest
1 slice of bread
Sufficient butter to spread on the bread
1 large egg, separated
Salt and pepper, sprinkle of each
Optional add-ins: sliced ham, salmon, herbs, cheese
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the bread on an ungreased baking sheet and spread with butter to taste on one side only.
If you choose to add something to the bread before the meringue, do so now.
Beat the egg white with any herbs or spices you desire until it forms stiff peaks
Spread the meringue over the bread, and make a shallow dent in it with the back of a spoon.
Gently slide the egg yolk into the dent.
Bake for 15 minutes for a still-soft yolk or add 2 more minutes if you prefer a firm yolk.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to serve.