This breakfast recipe is easier than making a cup of coffee. And it’s seriously delicious.
Two ingredients. 20 to 25 minutes. Clever and witty presentation. I wouldn’t limit myself to having this tasty variation on bacon & eggs for breakfast only. It could be paired with fruit for breakfast, or a salad for lunch or dinner. I made this for Christmas morning breakfast, and added only some finely chopped scallion to the bottom of the pancetta cup and the top of the egg, a light dash of black pepper on top before baking, and a sprinkling of grated romano cheese over the egg yolk at the moment of serving. For me, there was plenty of salt in the pancetta, so I felt no need to add any more.
I found this recipe on the website for the NPR show “Here & Now.” It includes a video of chef Kathy Gunst preparing this dish from beginning to end (below). In the video, Gunst mentions the ease of using a silicon muffin tray, though it is not included in the text of the recipe; I concur with her assessment and, after using a new silicon tray for this dish, will probably never use a tin one again. For anything.
EGGS BAKED IN PANCETTA CUPS
This is one of those dishes that can only be as good as the ingredients you work with:
1. Look for really good farm fresh eggs.
2. Pancetta, a cured (not smoked) Italian bacon with a salty and peppery flavor, is available in most supermarkets. However, if you have an Italian grocery store or really good meat market nearby look for pancetta that can be sliced to order. Ideally you’ll work with Italian-made pancetta that is sliced about 1/8th-inch thick.
Two good ingredients. One amazing recipe that can be done from start to finish in about 25 minutes.
You can serve the pancetta and eggs straight from the oven accompanied by crusty bread or place on top of mixed salad greens. You could also add a few tablespoons chopped fresh herbs or cubed tomatoes to the egg for a variation.
About 6 slices pancetta, sliced about 1/8th-inch thick, slightly chilled, about 7 ounces (If you are working with pre-sliced supermarket brand pancetta you may need 12 slices; you will need to double up with 2 slices of pancetta for each muffin tin.).
6 fresh eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the pancetta slice into a muffin tray, pressing it and molding it into the tray so that it covers the entire bottom and sides of the tray. If you have very thin pre-sliced pancetta from the supermarket you may need to use 2 slices, overlapping them slightly to fill the entire muffin tray.
Place the muffin tray with the pancetta on the middle shelf and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and crack an egg directly into each pancetta “cup.” Sprinkle very lightly with salt and pepper. Bake another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the egg white is set and the yolk looks almost cooked. When you gently jiggle the muffin tray the yolk should wobble somewhat but not look raw. Remove from the oven and let cool about 1 minute. Gently run a flat kitchen knife around the sides and bottom of the pancetta (being careful not to pierce the egg). Use a thin metal spatula or off-set spatula to remove the egg and pancetta in one piece.
Serves 6 [one egg each, or 3, a more reasonable two eggs each].