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Baked Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Arugula and Manchego

Baked eggs with smoked salmon, arugula and manchego

I like beginnings. I am ready to bid adieu to 2010 and say hello to 2011, with its sparkling clean slate and big possibilities.

And I also like cozy, quiet brunches and subdued January skies, and this little breakfast is perfect for that. Serving a complete breakfast in a single dish makes it feel like a little present, complete with tasty, unexpected morsels buried beneath creamy, just-cooked eggs. They are also remarkably easy to make, which is a good thing right about now.

Think of this recipe as a framework. You could omit the salmon, swap it out for some bacon or sausage, or forgo meat altogether. You could use any cheese you fancy. You could call on onions instead of leeks, or spinach instead of arugula.

Happy New Year everybody! Here’s to a sparkling 2011.

BAKED EGGS WITH SMOKED SALMON, ARUGULA AND MANCHEGO

8 large eggs
1.5 cups diced leeks, white and pale green parts only
1.5 cups chopped arugula, plus a little extra for garnish
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup grated Manchego cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 eight-ounce ramekins or oven-safe bowls

Note: because the Manchego and the smoked salmon are both salty, err on the side of caution when adding salt. It may not need much at all!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Warm a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil or butter. When hot, add the leeks and saute until just soft, about 4 or 5 minutes. Turn heat off, but keep the leeks in the pan. Add the arugula and stir, allowing the greens to wilt.

Grease the four ramekins. Divide the leek/arugula mixture evenly between them. Repeat with the salmon, adding about one ounce to each container in a thin layer over the greens. Next, divide the Manchego amongst the four, also in a thin layer, over the salmon.

Carefully crack two eggs into each ramekin, taking care to not break the yolk. Atop the eggs, sprinkle a touch more Manchego and finish with a few twists of the pepper mill.

Place the ramekins on a shallow baking sheet and bake until the whites have set, about 12-15 minutes.

When they are ready, let them rest for a couple minutes- they’ll be too hot to eat immediately!

Garnish with a little more chopped arugula and serve.

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