On the tail end of our honeymoon (seven years ago!), Eric and I stopped to have breakfast with a friend who lived in the city we were flying out of. She took us to a little breakfast spot that I remember very little about other than its phenominal omelettes. See, up until that point, if I was going to have eggs, they were going to be matched with cheddar, ham, and bell pepper, because that was what should be.
But on a newly married whim, I decided to order an omelette with…what’s that you say? Mozzarella. Spinach. Asparagus.
And it was sort of life-chanaging. The earthiness of those greens with the creaminess of the melted mozzarella…with eggs, was well, perfect. And that omelette has stayed with me ever since, quietly but haughtily setting the bar for every egg I’ve had since.
Cut to a little over a month ago, when I stumbled upon this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is. I think I made it about three days before making her bacon-wrapped egg cups for dinner. And they were just as wonderful as I’d hoped.
I’d made them several times when it struck me that making these with some modifications to mirror my golden omelette standard of old might be amazing. And I was right.
Here’s how it goes down: bacon is par-cooked, then wrapped around the exterior of a muffin tin cup (or a small ramekin; I used a Pyrex 10-oz. custard cup). Meanwhile, sauté your asparagus, garlic, and spinach…wait for it…in the bacon grease. Add the veggies to the bottom of each tin, top with mozzarella, crack and egg, season, and bake. Twenty minutes later, you’ve essentially got a crispy-bacon cup of eggy, cheesy, earthy goodness.
I topped these with a simple arugula salad like How Sweet’s original recipe did, and I loved the flavor punch a little bit of that peppery arugula gave. Plus, it’s finally summer, and you should be eating all the green things.
We have been loving on these for brinner lately, but they’re pretty much begging to be the main feature of your next brunch. Aaaaand, you can assemble them the night ahead of time and bake them up quickly the next morning so you can sleep in, assuming that you, unlike us, do not have a toddler who wakes up before most birds.
(recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is )
(yields 4 egg cups, easily multiplied)
These can be made in standard-sized muffin tins or small ramekins (I used a 10-oz. Pyrex custard cup). And these egg cups are highly adaptable - basically any lightly sauteed vegetable will do, topped with the shredded cheese of your choosing. Plus, you can assemble these a day ahead of time. Just cover tightly and place in the fridge.
I adapted the original recipe by using 2 strips of bacon per cup rather than 1, using asparagus in place of sun-dried peppers, and adding cheese to the mix.
8 strips bacon*
1 clove garlic, minced
app. 6 asparagus spears, thinly sliced (may want more if your spears are thin)**
4 large handfuls spinach
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (more or less to taste)
4 large eggs
salt and pepper
2 cups arugula
squeeze of lemon juice (app. 2 tsp.)
drizzle of olive oil (1-2 tsp.)
salt and pepper (I like to use freshly ground sea salt & black pepper for this)
*You can probably get away with four strips of bacon if using thick-cut.
**Other veggies that would work great: brocolli, broccoli rabe, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic scapes, green onions,
Preheat oven to 400*. Grease muffin tins or ramekins.
Prepare Egg Cups:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and par-cook bacon strips for about 4 minutes until they just begin to cook/brown and the fat begins to render. You want to remove the bacon while it's still soft and pliable. Place bacon on a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
Pour off all but 2 tablespooons of bacon grease. Turn heat to low. Place garlic and asparagus in skillet and saute about 2-3 minutes, just until the asparagus starts to soften. Stir in spinach, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute another minute more until spinach is just wilted. Turn off the heat.
Line prepared muffin tin cups or ramekins with 2 slices of bacon, tucking the top slice just overlappinglinly inside the bottom one (this will help them adhere to one another and the egg cup). Place a bit of the sauteed veggies (about an 1/4 cup) in the bottom of each bacon-lined cup. Place about 1/8 cup of the shredded cheese on top of the veggies. Crack one egg on top of the cheese and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
(You can stop at this point and store these, covered, in the fridge for 24 hours).
Bake Egg Cups:
Place muffin tin or ramekins in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes until the egg is set to your liking. Let cool for a minute or two, then gently remove.
Prepare Arugula Topping:
In a small bowl, gently toss the arugula with the lemon juice, olive olive, salt, and pepper.
Serve Egg Cups:
Top egg cups with the arugula topping mixture and serve immediately.