photo by Jessica Leibowitz
Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 30 minutes
Eggs baked in ham cups with creamed mushrooms underneath appeared on the February 2002 cover of Gourmet magazine. I made them on my show and was astonished (I don’t know why – everything is tested at my magazine a zillion times until it is perfect) to find how easily they unmolded from the muffin tins and held their shape. This is an adaptation using my Guatemalan housekeeper Magda Alcayaga’s sofrito in place of the mushroom base. Once you have tried this recipe and marveled, as I did, at how well it holds up, I guarantee you will start experimenting to see what other items (cheese, spinach, tomatoes) might also go nicely with the egg in its little ham cup.
1/2 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 large plum tomato coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup packed rinsed and dried fresh cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
8 thin slices Black Forest or Virginia ham (without holes; 6 to 8 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 ounces plain or jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
8 large tortilla chips (3-inch triangles), coarsely crushed (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the bell pepper, onion, tomato, cilantro, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Fit a slice of ham into each of 8 lightly-oiled muffin cups, custard cups, or mini souffle dishes (they must hold a scant 1/2-cup) with the ends of the ham extending above the edges of cups. Divide the sofrito mixture among the cups, shaping a hollow in the center. Crack 1 egg into each, and divide the cheese over the tops. If using custard cups or souffle dishes, place on a rimmed baking sheet for easy handling.
Bake in the center of the oven until the whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 15 minutes. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and carefully remove (with the ham) from the muffin cups, using 2 spoons or spatulas. Sprinkle with tortilla chips and serve.