Spanish-style eggs in a snap
The duchess of Duchess Bake Shop shares her fast family meal
If there's a running theme in the Edmonton food community, it's that the folks who have the most to boast about are also the ones you're least likely to ever hear boasting about themselves.
They just go about their business, letting their work speak for itself, and there's no finer example of that than Giselle Courteau, founder of Duchess Bake Shop.
In addition to the internationally renowned business, Courteau is a partner in Café Linnea, Duchess Atelier, where she teaches cooking classes multiple times per week, and somehow found the time to write a second cookbook — Duchess at Home — due out this fall.
With all that on her work plate, it's obvious why quick and easy recipes are essential for the plates at home.
Looking back on her childhood, Courteau credits her mom, Sylvia, as being a "super mom" for her ability to raise two children while working full-time and still managing to get a home-cooked meal on the table every night.
Sylvia also happened to be an unusually experimental cook, and would often create dinners that young Giselle and her father didn't like. The occasional menu objections did nothing to dissuade Sylvia from cooking, however, and still don't.
"I once asked her in high school why she didn't make more of an effort to cook the things we liked, and she told me that, 'If I'm the one doing the cooking, then I get to choose what we eat. If you want to cook dinner, then I'll be happy to eat whatever you make,'" Courteau said.
From that moment on she decided to cook two or three family meals every week, and ended up really enjoying it.
Nowadays, Courteau and her partner Jacob Pelletier need to balance their hectic schedules with the desire to cook at home for their two young kids at least four times each week. Any week they manage that is considered a win.
Typical meals for the family include frittatas, chili (a real kid pleaser, according to Courteau) and lots of soups.
The recipe she made for us, baked eggs Spanish style, will be featured in her upcoming cookbook. It features a lot of similar ingredients to a frittata but is presented in a different way. The idea came from a Spanish-inspired salad a friend made. Courteau decided to adapt the flavours into a baked egg dish.
Courteau suggests if you're really in a pinch for time you can use store-bought pesto, and any precooked meats work well. The key is watching the eggs, as the cooking time can vary based on the pan and oven you use. Anywhere between six and 12 minutes in the oven should do the trick. She looks for fully cooked whites with just a bit of jiggle.
Baked Eggs, Spanish-style
You will need a 10-inch round ovenproof cast-iron pan or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (glass or ceramic). For individual servings, use six ovenproof ramekins.
*If you use a cast-iron pan, the eggs may cook a bit more quickly, so keep a close eye on it in the oven.
- Small bunch parsley (about ¾ cup), roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 25 g (¼ cup) sliced almonds (or pine nuts)
- 1 tablespoon water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 75 grams (3 cups loosely packed) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons almond pesto
- 175 grams (¾ cup) cream
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 6 slices Ibérico or Serrano ham, cut in half
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Shaved manchego cheese, or Parmesan, to taste
- Fleur de sel (sea salt)
- Arugula (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Butter the baking dish or ramekins.
To make the pesto:
Place all the pesto ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until there are no large chunks. If the pesto seems really thick, add another tablespoon of water and blend again.
To make the eggs:
Mix six tablespoons of the pesto with the spinach. Spread evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.
Pour the cream evenly over the spinach. Bake for eight minutes. Remove the dish from the oven.
Gently crack the eggs into the dish and place pieces of ham around the egg.
Bake for eight to 14 minutes, until the whites are just cooked and the yolks are still runny (it will take less time in a cast-iron pan). There should still be a bit of jiggle when you shake the pan. Let cool for five minutes.
While the eggs are cooling, toss the tomatoes, shallot, and any leftover pesto together.
After five minutes' cooling, spoon the tomato mixture haphazardly over the eggs and scatter over the shaved manchego cheese.
Finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. If desired, serve with a handful of arugula and toast.
This dish is best served hot.