This is basically a casserole, with two layers of a ricotta, onions and breadcrumbs mixture, a middle layer of ham, plus eggs cooked on top. The recipe belongs to Jay Guerrero, the sous chef at Prune in New York, who is somewhat famous for his family meals. He calls this a breakfast dish, but it can also be enjoyed as a light lunch or dinner. Or brunch.
For some extra zing, I sprinkled the eggs with cayenne pepper flakes.
Baked Eggs with Ricotta and Onions Slightly adapted
extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups coarse breadcrumbs, big enough that they look like croutons
2 cups ricotta
1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
2 egg yolks
4-5 slices good quality ham (I diced the ham)
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Add chives and cayenne pepper flakes (optional)
Take a 9×13 pan or casserole dish and oil the inside with a little olive oil. Set aside and preheat your oven to 450° F.
In a big sauté pan, heat some olive oil until shimmering, and add the onions and thyme. Toss around a little bit until the onions are coated and turning translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and toast them with the onions for a few more minutes, until they start to turn golden. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool as you prep the next step.
In a medium bowl, blend the ricotta with the milk/cream to loosen it up. Whisk in the two yolks until smooth. Add the breadcrumb/onion mixture.
Put half this mixture in the bottom of the pan. Put the ham down in a single layer over the breadcrumb/cheese mixture, and then top the layer of ham with the rest of the breadcrumb/cheese mixture.
Make six indents on top of the bed of ricotta, big enough that the yolks can settle into them comfortably. I a large spoon dipped in a little oil to make the indentations so as not to lose any batter. Crack your eggs into the indents and bake until the whites are done and the yolks are set to your likeness.
If using a metal sheet pan, start checking at 10 minutes, gently nudging the yolks and whites to see if they’re the consistency you like. This can be anywhere from 10-30 minutes, so be vigilant and keep checking, but it’ll likely be done before 20 minutes. For a ceramic casserole dish, do the same, but know that it might take 30 minutes in this case (still, keep checking). When you feel it’s ready, serve!
Whatever you do, don’t sit down, which is what I did. The eggs were probably 2 minutes too long in the oven for my liking. But the dish was still excellent.
For fun, I added some pickled onions. Chili onion crisp would also be good on this egg dish, as well as the chives I forgot!
My husband enjoyed the leftover baked eggs in tortillas, and made me promise I’d mention this.