This dish was a new one on me…Featherbed Eggs. I mean, how could you not fall in love with a name like that? It makes me think of country inns with crisp white sheets, quilt draped beds. Cotton curtains blowing in a warm breeze. Comfort.
And how could you not fall in love with these cozy, comforting Featherbed Eggs? Eggs nestled into a custard soaked bread (think of a savory French toast) and layered over thinly sliced ham.
That ham is really the star of the show here – the edges crisp, the flavor’s enhanced and it’s all such a nice contrast with the rest of the dish.
This is quick to put together, quick to cook and it shines in individual dishes. Use small casseroles, ramekins, cast iron or what ever you have. I think a Pyrex pie plate might be a good substitute for the single servings.
I’m sounding like a broken record when it comes to pricing: Aldi, Aldi, Aldi. If you have an Aldi nearby, their egg & bread prices are outstanding. As far as the cheese & ham, the better you use, the better it is. (And Aldi has specialty cheeses and ham.) If you shop “lunch meat”, use a coupon. An upgrade would be a thinly sliced deli ham and you could not go wrong with an imported variety.
- 10 eggs (2 for the custard), room temperature
- 2/3 cup cream
- 12 pieces thinly sliced ham
- 8 thinly sliced pieces of sour dough (or other good quality) bread
- 3/4 cups (more or less as desired) cheese (choose a good, flavorful cheese – a combo of a meltier cheese combined with a hard cheese works well)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
If the eggs aren’t at room temperature, place in a bowl of warm water while the bread soaks.
In a large, shallow bowl, combine 2 eggs with cream. Add bread and let soak for several minutes, then turn and soak a few minutes longer.
Spray 4 ramekins, small dishes or skillets with cooking spray. Line with slices of ham, allowing the ham to sit partially up the sides and completely cover the surface area where the bread will sit. Cut slices if necessary.
Add the two slices of soaked bread on top of the ham, fitting in to cover as much of the bottom as possible; divide any extra cream mixture among the dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. Gently break two eggs over the top of each casserole. Sprinkle a little smoked paprika over the eggs.
Bake for around 20 minutes, until eggs are desired doneness and ham has started to crisp. Watch carefully and keep in mind that the egss will continue to cook for a short period of time when removed from the oven.
- To make in a larger dish (and this is untested) try a glass pyrex pie pan and bake a few minutes longer. You may need a few more slices of ham.
- For a leaner version, substitute milk for cream.
- There is no salt in this recipe as the ham & cheese are salty; you know your taste. Add salt if desired.
adapted from Gourmet Traveller