Ahh, Easter: a day of celebration & reflection for some, one of copious amounts of chocolate & elaborate food spreads for many others.
I found myself alone this Easter as I have many times in the past, but I didn’t mind. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks and really needed the downtime.
But that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to spoil myself with my own special meal on this holiday! So after taking care of a few chores & errands, I got to work on a simple but delightful menu, featuring a few of the items I’d scored last week at the farmer’s market.
My little menu in a word: exquisite!
Now, before the naysayers start hemming & hawing that this is “too fancy” or “doesn’t sound cheap at all”, let me remind you that lovely meals can be made for small prices if you’re wise about your choices. I definitely proved this last fall when I threw my Luxury Dinner Party for the PFB contest, featuring a 4-course gourmet menu for five that only cost about $15 per person. Eating well doesn’t always have to mean using the most expensive ingredients; it’s about creativity, nutrition and presentation. And even though I ate today’s “fancy” brunch in a t-shirt, jeans & flip flops, I know I ate like a queen.
Because three of these recipes are new, even to me, I figured I’d break up this menu into three different posts. Tonight, we’ll start with the main course, with the side & drink coming later this week. Besides, this particular recipe is so special, it couldn’t possibly share the spotlight with anything else.
Those of you who have been reading PGEW for awhile know that I have a total food crush on baked eggs. From serving them with sautéed tomatoes & peppers to baking them right inside a tomato, I’ve happily explored many wonderful baked egg combinations through my journey on PGEW. They’re simple to prepare, flavorful and offer a different approach to brunch – or brinner.
I gleaned inspiration from my recipe for Baked Eggs, Ham & Asparagus in Tomato Cups. I’ve always been a huge fan using fruits & vegetables as edible servingware, and despite how delicate tomatoes can be, the experiment worked like a charm. I had a couple of nice portabella caps in the fridge and thought they would make an equally great “dish” for my baked eggs. Some chopped fresh herbs and a couple sprinkles of freshly ground black pepper, and I was ready to roll.
This dish is fantastic because of its simplicity. There are no added sauces, no random cheeses thrown in for richness; just tender, meaty portabella mushrooms, soft baked eggs, and fresh herbs. Each ingredient complements the next in such a way that the entire experience is a melodious symphony of flavors. When it comes to “less is more”, this dish delivers.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this is incredibly simple to make and will make you look like a pro in the kitchen, no matter what your skill level. It’s also quite filling, as most portabella mushroom caps can hold two eggs at a time. This one is definitely going into heavy rotation, so long as I can find my portabella caps on sale! With my $1.49 eggs from Trader Joe’s and a good deal on the mushrooms over at Safeway, I’ll be able to have this a couple of times this week for less than $2/serving. Gotta love that!
Baked Eggs & Herbs in Portabella Mushroom Caps (makes 2 servings; total cost per serving: $1.85)
4 large eggs
2 T chopped fresh chives
1 T chopped scallions
Salt & pepper
Cooking spray (olive oil or regular vegetable oil)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly coat with a thin layer of cooking spray. Rinse & pat dry the mushroom caps, making sure all extra traces of dirt are removed. Gently pop off the stem and leave the gills intact.
Lightly sprinkle each mushroom cap with salt & freshly ground pepper, followed by about half of the herbs. Carefully crack two eggs into each mushroom and place on baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the eggs are set according to personal taste.
Remove from the oven & allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs, add another sprinkle of ground black pepper for garnish, and enjoy!