Eggs in Snow with Bacon Jam & Pimento Cheese Spread

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KITCHEN NOTES

While they may take a bit longer to whip, use the freshest, coldest egg whites possible--they produce an easier more stable foam with more delicate and uniform texture. If not preparing the side dishes presented in the recipe, experiment by adding a favorite finely shredded or grated cheese such as Comté, Pecorino, or Parmesan to the egg whites before they go into the oven. Also, consider finishing the cooked dish with a sprinkling of black or white sesame seeds, scallions, or a dash of hot sesame oil or hot sauce.

This winter will go down as the one of the coldest in over a century. Iowa recorded temperatures of 20 below zero, and the Northeast was pummeled with back to back Nor'easters and several feet of snow. The perfect time for trying something new in the kitchen and turning eggs into something eliciting a "wow" from every person at the table. Impressive and seemingly sophisticated, these eggs are one of the simplest to prepare. Sometimes called cloud or nest eggs, this French technique developed to feed kings has reigned for more than 400 years. 

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE EGGS

4 farm fresh eggs

Olive oil cooking spray

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Fresh chives

24 small tomatoes on the vine

1 avocado, sliced into thin wedges

8 strips of thick bacon

PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD

FOR THE NEW ENGLAND BACON JAM

8 thick cut strips American Applewood smoked bacon, roughly chopped

1/2 Spanish onion, diced

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup brewed espresso, cooled

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

FOR THE EGGS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the tomatoes on a half sheet baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, and place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are glistening and the skins beginning to burst. Set aside.

3. Place the bacon on a parchment lined half sheet baking tray and bake until crispy, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place strips on a paper towel to drain the fat.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

5. Coat 4 small bowls with cooking spray. Separate the eggs and put the whites into a medium bowl and the yolks in the small bowls (1 yolk per bowl).

6. Add a large pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until stiff peaks form.

7. Dollop 4 large spoonfuls of the egg whites onto the prepared baking sheet and make a small well in the middle of each with the back of a spoon (use the spoon to lift the sides of the egg whites up for a more dramatic presentation).  

8. Bake the whites until they are firm, no longer wet and the edges are just barely beginning to turn golden brown, about 6 minutes.

9. Gently pour 1 yolk into the well of each white. Bake until the edges of the yolk just start to set while still being runny, 3 to 4 minutes.

10. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. With kitchen shears, snip chives over the eggs, and serve immediately with the tomatoes, crisp bacon, sliced avocado, and prepared side dishes.

SERVES 2

FOR THE NEW ENGLAND BACON JAM

1. In a 10" CAST IRON SKILLET, fry the bacon until it is brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove the bacon from the pan (leave the grease in the pan) to a paper towel lined plate.

3. Add the onion to the pan and toss in the bacon fat to coat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, over medium heat and then toss in the garlic for two more minutes. The onions should be translucent and soft.

4. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, espresso, maple syrup, bourbon, and mustard and bring to a simmer. 

5. Add in the reserved bacon and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently simmer for 45 minutes or until the mixture is a runny jam consistency.

6. Transfer the jam to a bowl or jar. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.

MAKES 1 CUP JAM

 
 

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