Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | June 21, 2017

The Sunday Breakfast: Taking It Easy


By Ernest Barteldes


Having a hectic schedule and not getting enough sleep is part of pretty much everyone’s life in a big city, and that is certainly what Renata and I go through on a daily basis – we wake up early, I make coffee and pack a hastily made sandwich for breakfast, which we either enjoy while riding the Staten Island Ferry or once we actually get to work.

But weekend – especially Sundays – are markedly different. Away goes the weekday rush and a lazier, relaxed approach kicks in, and then I try to make something special: a hearty and tastier breakfast that includes fruit and something creative that we eat while sleepily watching a TV variety show called CBS Sunday Morning – a guilty pleasure featuring mostly older reporters that do long pieces on various themes, including the profiles of actors and musicians, curiosity pieces like the popularity of some kind of food (the segment on Hawaii and SPAM being one of my all-time favorites) or some human interest piece. Though politics is sometimes featured, it is mostly a light-topic show, which is a good escape from the hard news we get on a regular basis (incidentally, it precedes CBS’ Face the Nation, their own politically centered Sunday show).

So it is in this lighter spirit that I look for recipes that can only be enjoyed by taking one’s time – both during the preparation and also eating – preferably in bed.  A recent dish I found on my giant tome of recipes from the dearly departed Gourmet magazine consists of ham serving as a cup for eggs and mushrooms that is quite simple to prepare: place ham slices in a muffin pan, add a mix of mushrooms, shallots and sour cream to the bottom, top with eggs, bake for a few minutes and voila – you have a delicious and nutritious Sunday breakfast.

Here is the original recipe, which I made cut in half: it’s not like I have so many people to feed on Sunday!


Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps

Source: Epicurious



3/4 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

12 slices Black Forest or Virginia ham (without holes; 10 oz.)

12 large eggs

Garnish: fresh tarragon leaves

Accompaniment: buttered brioche or challah toast

Special equipment: a muffin tin with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups




Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook mushrooms and shallot in butter with salt and pepper in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid they give off is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraiche and tarragon.

Fit 1 slice of ham into each of 12 lightly oiled muffin cups (ends will stick up and hang over edges of cups). Divide mushrooms among cups and crack 1 egg into each. Bake in middle of oven until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 15 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper and remove (with ham) from muffin cups carefully, using 2 spoons or small spatulas.

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