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 cooki
ng 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 F. 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 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.