Spring Eggs ‘n’ Ham by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
April 12, 2019
With a nod to the famous children’s author, I’ve made a batch of molded green egg ‘frittatas’ to serve with an Easter Sunday brunch. They are green from pureeing sautéed swiss chard and leeks with egg whites and cream. I’ve baked them in small, silicone, prism-shaped molds; never-opened treasures found in a yard sale. But fear not, bake them in non-stick muffin tins or in one larger well-buttered casserole dish. For convenience, they can be made and baked ahead and gently re-heated in a microwave before guests arrive.
- Prep: 20 mins
- Cook: 40 mins
- Yields: 6-8 servings as part of a buffet
2 leeks, white parts only
½ medium onion, finely chopped (to yield about ½ cup or more)
2 medium cloves garlic
1 bunch of green swiss chard
3 pieces of scallions, washed and dried
Optional: 1 small (2-3 inch) jalapeno pepper, washed and seeded
3-4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more as needed)
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander seed
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried dill
Optional: ½ teaspoon ground sumac (Middle Eastern ground spice with a slightly sour taste)
1-1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (plus more to taste)
3-ounces crumbled feta cheese
3-cups liquid egg whites
1 cup light or half & half cream
softened butter to prepare the molds or baking dish
Prepare your ‘mise-en-place’: gather ingredients and do advance prep work before assembly/cooking of dish
+ Trim the green ends and the roots from the leeks. Discard or save the green ends for stock. Cut each leek in half, down the length and cut these pieces across into ½-inch pieces. Soak in a bowl of water to remove any grit. Lift out and drain in a strainer/colander to remove excess liquid.
+ Wash and dry the scallions. Slice the greens and whites into ¼ inch pieces and keep separate.
+ Before removing the twist tie from your bunch of swiss chard, lay the bunch on a cutting board and trim off the bottom ½-inch of the stalks and discard these pieces. Now separate the bunch into leaves and wash thoroughly in a large bowl of cold water. You may need to wash a second time if the leaves are very gritty. Shake the leaves to remove excess water. Strip the leaves from each stem and set aside. Save the stems!
+ Gather the stems and cut into ¼-inch pieces. Where the stem is wide, cut those pieces in half first to make narrower pieces. Set aside the cut stems.
+ Tear the chard leaves into pieces and then rough chop the leaves. Use your chef’s knife and a large cutting board. Aim to reduce the leaves to 2-3-inch sized pieces. Set aside.
+ Chop the onion. Set aside. Wash, de-stem and slice the jalapeno in half (if using). Remove the seeds and thinly slice. Set aside. Peel and chop the garlic. Set aside. Gather and measure the spices.
+ Heat a large (10-12-inch) deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan---don’t let the oil get too hot; don’t let it start to smoke…if it does it is: TOO HOT!! And start over.
Add the chopped onions, the whites of the scallions, the chopped jalapenos (optional) and the chopped chard stem pieces. Add a pinch of kosher salt and stir to keep from burning. Cook until softened. Lowering the heat and covering the pan will facilitate this process. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the spices: the dried dill, the ground coriander seed, the sumac (optional), kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds over low heat until the spices become fragrant.
+ Add the chopped chard to the pan in batches; that is, waiting until some of the greens have wilted down before adding the rest. Sprinkle with kosher salt while turning the leaves over in the sauté pan. Cook until chard has completely wilted and is very soft. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
+ Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
+ Add the cooled, cooked greens to a blender. Add the chopped greens of the scallions. Add 3 cups of liquid egg whites along with 1-cup of light or half & half cream. Add the crumbled feta cheese. Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and some twists of the pepper mill. Cover and process until completely smooth and smooth green. (note: I have used egg whites because I wanted to keep it as green as possible and the using egg yolks would change the color…but feel free to use whole eggs…just crack and measure out 3 cups of whole eggs (about 12 large eggs), whisk them before adding to the blender.
+ Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees---a longer, lower-temp cooking will yield a more tender result.
+ Choose a baking dish that will hold 8 cups and butter the sides and bottom liberally. I have used some silicone molds, but you can use muffin tins as well. Make sure to butter the muffin tins liberally as well.
You will have approximately 6 + cups of mixture to divide in muffin tins. You may need to do some math!
+ Bake slowly for 25-40 minutes or until the egg-custard is set around the edges and only the very center is a bit ‘wobbly’. Exact cooking time is difficult to give because the size of the baking dish or muffin tins used will dictate the time needed.
+ When set, remove from oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding. If you are using muffin tins lay a cutting board on top and flip over and the egg frittatas should fall out onto the board. If using a casserole dish, either serve immediately or let cool completely and refrigerate until needed. Then cover with plastic wrap and microwave until just hot. Don’t overcook it.
+ Serve as part of an Easter Buffet.
Mise-en-place time: 40 minutes
Assembly & finishing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 40 minutes