My best friend treated me to breakfast at The Little Griddle last week and I enjoyed a delicious baked egg dish served in a small cast iron skillet. It was made with bacon, eggs, and spinach and topped with panko and parmesan. It was delicious, so much so I wanted to try to recreate it in spirit, if not in form. I don’t have the right size skillet, so I used a small baking dish.
I decided to go with kale rather than spinach. I love spinach in salads and in spanokopita, but in cooking, I am very much in agreement with Imani Grandy. You think you have enough and you start cooking it and it disappears.
Is there a vegetable that’s a bigger liar than spinach?
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) March 21, 2018
It took me five trials to get it right. The first three times, it still tasted good, but getting the eggs baked so the yolks remained soft and runny while the panko toasted was tricky. If the panko was toasted, the egg yolks were hard, broiling resulted in toasted panko with semi-raw eggs. I tried different temperatures but finally succeeded by baking the eggs until nearly done before adding the panko and broiling. During my trials, I tried different spices and discovered that I really liked sage and cinnamon the most. However, cumin and red pepper flakes was also tasty. So was cinnamon and cayenne. I decided on going with sage and cinnamon to satisfy my love of umami. So here goes.
- 2 slices of bacon, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 tsp of dried sage
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onions
- 1 stem of kale, cleaned and stripped off the stem, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Put a skillet on medium heat, add bacon, sage, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the aroma fills the room.
- Add onions and kale and continue to cook until done. Ideally, the bacon, onions, and kale are all the same size.
- Remove from heat and place in the bottom of a small baking dish or two ramekins. If you have a small enough skillet, you can leave it in the skillet and skip this step.
- Put 1/2 cup of sour cream on top of the spinach and bacon. You could use cream or yogurt. Don’t stir it in, lay it in top because the eggs bake into it, sort of like coddled eggs.
- Carefully crack two eggs and lay on top. Add salt and pepper and bake for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, check the eggs, the whites should be close to done and the yolks still runny. This can be anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes, depending on your stove and the size of the eggs.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with panko all over the top. Turn oven to broil
- Broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep your eye on it so the panko does not burn.
Needless to say, this is delicious. I would not experiment over and over on the same recipe for two weeks if I were not trying to get to something perfectly delicious. In many ways, this is like coddled eggs, but I didn’t have cream and love sour cream with kale so much I had no interest in buying cream for an authentic coddled egg. If I had cream, then I would have needed to add some parmesan to get a bit of sour flavor to counter the sweetness of the cream. I thought sour cream easier and even tastier.
I think this dish could be made with collards, mustard greens, spinach (obviously), kale, and any other flavorful greens. Variations could be made with fennel, cauliflower, and more. Experiment yourself, just cook everything, put the sour cream on top, then the eggs, bake. Add panko, and broil. Go for it and let me know how your own experiments pan out.