Baked Eggs with Two Kales

What you see here, is yet another way for me to get my weekend eggs on. Baked eggs might be my new favorite breakfast food. Like with omelettes or frittatas, the options are limitless with this very tasty and easy dish. The egg's versatility never ceases to amaze me. And the horror of now knowing that I've missed out on the delight of baked eggs for so many years. Well, I don't even know what to say. Thank God it's behind me now.

What you see here, are several layers - the first: toasted whole grain triangles, the second: green and red kale leaves, and the third: three eggs cracked into little "nests" between the leaves. Any number of greens could be substituted here. Spinach, escarole, chard. Whatever sounds good to you (or whatever you happen to have picked up at the market) will most likely work. I chose to use individual stoneware plates, but you could also do family style in a bigger baking dish instead. Either way, these are great because they all come out at the same time, and you don't have to worry about someone's eggs (yours) sitting on the counter while you finish cooking someone else's.

                    1 tablespoon olive oil
                    1 small clove garlic, minced
                    1/2 bunch red kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into leaves
                    1/2 bunch green kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into leaves
                    salt and freshly ground black pepper
                    1-2 slices whole grain bread, cut into small triangles
                    butter for greasing the plate(s) and buttering the bread
                    6 large eggs
                    2 tablespoons cup creme fraiche (or heavy whipping cream)
                    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and when it shimmers, add the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes, then add the green kale (which will take a bit longer to wilt than the red). Reduce the heat to medium, add a pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes. Then add the red kale, and continue to cook and stir until the leaves are just wilted. Transfer the kale to a bowl to cool (it does not need to cool completely before you proceed, but you don't want it so hot it will start cooking the eggs before they get into the oven).

Toast the triangles in a toaster oven (or the slices before cutting if you're using a toaster) and butter them as they are done.

Lightly butter two oven-safe plates or a baking dish large enough to hold the toasted triangles in one layer. Arrange them on the bottom of the dish(es) and evenly scatter the wilted kale over the top, making rough little nests to hold the eggs in place. Crack the eggs into the kale nests and season them with salt and pepper. Drizzle a tablespoon creme fraiche or whipping cream  (or two if using one dish)
over the dishes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and set on the lowest shelf of the oven. Cook until the whites are just set but the yolks are still runny, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan, Brunch: 100 Recipes from Five Points Restaurant.            

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