Brunch-worthy breakfast any day of the week
Despite the fact we are entering one of my favorite, easy, and effortless breakfast seasons (fresh berries and yogurt, anyone?), I love any chance to work protein into my mornings. Egg bakes are perfect for a weekday meal, because they hold up in the refrigerator for a good five days. When baked ahead of time, you can have a brunch-worthy breakfast on an average Wednesday and it will feel like a pretty big treat.
The ingredients here are pretty simple. You probably have half of them (or maybe more) on hand, and the others won’t cost a fortune to pick up. I use shallots because they’re a bit milder than onions, and slightly sweet, which works really well with the savory mushrooms and creamy egg and cheese mixture. Try to find a nice combination of different mushrooms if you can. I used cremini and shiitake, but oyster mushrooms are also great. In general, I usually skip the standard white button mushrooms because I don’t think their flavor is as complex.
The egg bakes are really as simple as cooking the shallots and mushrooms, mixing up a simple egg base with a little shredded cheese, seasoning the mixture and popping them in the oven. They become domed and lightly browned on top … they’re a real stunner when they come out of the oven. For this reason, I love making them for brunch or when we have friends over, as they look far fancier than the effort they truly take to make. As they sit, they’ll settle just a bit, but will still taste delicious. They’re a winning weekday recipe largely because they’re so simple to make and have such a great shelf life — if you make them on a Sunday, you can reheat them throughout the week (I do so in the microwave).
As for other mix-ins or flavor options, Gruyere is a great cheese alternative here and a handful of fresh corn in the summer is wonderful. I’ve used roasted red peppers and feta cheese instead of the mushrooms and mozzarella, and I love doing a simple version with leftover roasted vegetables and Parmesan cheese. Once you make them, you’ll see how infinitely adaptable and simple they are and you can start scheming up a batch that will suit your tastes just perfectly.
Mixed Mushroom Egg Bakes
1 tablespoon butter, to grease ramekins
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallot (from about 2 small shallots)
8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms (cremini, oyster or shiitake, stems removed before slicing)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
6 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Fold in the thyme.
Grease four 8-ounce ramekins with a little butter, or use cooking spray instead. Place ramekins on a baking sheet so they’ll be easier to move to and from the oven.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. Divide the mushroom mixture evenly between the ramekins. Add a generous pinch of grated cheese on top of each. Ladle egg mixture over the top, stopping just below the top lip of the ramekin.
Place a baking sheet in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and have puffed slightly. Enjoy warm; cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to three days. Serves 4.
Per serving: 283 calories; 21 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 67 percent calories from fat); 8 g carbohydrates; 5 g sugar; 300 mg cholesterol; 491 mg sodium; 16 g protein; 1.5 g fiber.