I remember when the restaurant I worked for added baked eggs to the menu. The week before we had been brainstorming new menu items to incorporate into our contemporary brunch menu. What could make someone say wow when you present them their meal? The executive chef Tim (my fiance) snapped his fingers and with a smile mouthed the words, baked eggs.
I flashed back to the first week of culinary school, when we discussed all of the different ways to cook an egg. Up until that point, in my closed off little world, I had only learned to hard boil, scramble and fry an egg. Poaching was a word that did not exist in my vocabulary and the idea of baking an egg had not yet occurred to me. But from that moment on, eggs have became a fascination of mine.
Eventually we had to eliminate the fascinating item from the menu, not only were the customers accustomed to their usual (and in my opinion boring) routine, too afraid to try something new, they rejected the idea. The few that embraced it quickly grew frustrated with the 12 minute wait time, although the menu warned it would be at least 15. With all of the endless variety of ingredients that exist in the world, I still cannot fathom how people stubbornly insist on solely ordering the same thing over and over, never attempting to give the new guy a chance at proving it can be much more worth your time.
The typical baked eggs recipe often contains bacon, cheese, cream or milk, potatoes, peppers and more. Basically breakfast in a ramekin. I looked up the nutrition facts for these recipes and was a bit startled by the results I discovered. I could have eaten two of these in one sitting and know many who are not even content with three. But the calorie counts range from 375 calories to almost 600 calories. Not to mention the fat and carbohydrate content. I was pleased to discover my recipe only contained 150 calories per serving.
The secret is skipping the addition of cheese, potato or any type of cream. I simply greased the ramekin with sesame oil to avoid sticking and placed it on a bed of steamed spinach. I sauteed the minced garlic, ginger and red pepper to bring out each flavor. For added color and crunch I sprinkled some chopped pistachio and the spicy Sriracha brings the dish together. It was an easy and delicious breakfast, the sprinkle of Asiago cheese added its own unique salty touch. Although the egg whites bubbled up in an odd way, they came right back down as soon as I removed it from the oven. It's not exactly pretty, but makes up for its lack of beauty in flavor.
Eggs have been part of my daily nutrition plan since I began the weight loss competition over a month ago. This method of preparing them gives the boring routine a new spark, and has inspired various versions, including baking it an egg shell and adding a small asparagus spear for presentation and easier yolk removal.
If you have jalapenos in your refrigerator, I encourage you to sautee some up and throw it in, don't have shallots? Onion, leek, scallion and fennel will do just fine. Parmesan instead of Asiago, swiss chard or escarole instead of the spinach and so on. Use your imagination and allow your senses to take over. Enjoy! =]
Low-Fat Spicy Asiago & Spinach Baked Eggs
Nutrition Facts (Per serving, serves 1) Compared to... Baked Eggs on Cheesy Caramelized Onions
150 Calories 559.5 calories
8.6 grams of fat 32.3 grams of fat
185.8 mg of cholesterol 467.6 mg of cholesterol
6 grams of carbs 40.8 grams of carbs
1.8 grams of fiber 5.5 grams of fiber
13 grams of protein 28.4 grams of protein
- 1/4 cup of steamed spinach (or 1/2 cup is hungry)
- 1 large egg (careful not to break yolk)
- 1 egg white
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp of fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 tsp of red pepper, minced
- 1/4 tsp of sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp of fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp of pistachios, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp of Sriracha
- 1/2 tsp of asiago cheese (as desired)
- olive oil for sauteeing
- dash of black pepper
- (adjust recipe to liking)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Set up your ingredients, make sure your spinach is steamed until it is about to wilt, remove, set aside.
- Quickly sautee ginger, red pepper and garlic over medium heat in a small pan olive oil (just enough to sautee the small amount of minced veggies), until ginger and garlic are a golden brown, remove, set aside.
- Grease your ramekin with the sesame oil, then add the cooked spinach, the egg white and whole egg together, sprinkle your sauteed minced veggies over the egg whites, fresh thyme and a dash of black pepper over the top. Place ramekin in sheet pan for easy removal, and proceed to bake in oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolk. Make sure the whites are solid before removing from the oven, give it the shake taste. Give it a nudge, if it jiggles like jello, it's not ready, but keep an eye on it. The white will bubble (since there is no milk or cream) but it will go back down as soon as your remove it from the oven, don't panic!
- Once removed from oven, sprinkle pistachios, Sriracha and cheese. Serve warm, serves one.
Trust yourself, if you would like to add more seasoning, do so!