A Crack in My Shell

It is a completely novel thing for me to be thinking about eggs, and far more to be eating eggs, and beyond that even to be blogging eggs. Sure, they had their uses, in muffins and breading and brownies, but up until recently I had considered eating eggs on their own as pretty darn preposterous. Every Easter, I'd dye eggs with my sister, but never saw the point in having them as anything but decoration. I remember wanting to like eggs very much when I was a lot younger, but this was mostly due to the fact that we had some splendid little yellow duck soft-boiled egg holders, and the egg would sit in this hollow above their wings. I ruined several breakfasts for my mother by insisting on having eggs and then letting them sit there in the little ducks. In my defense . . . these were some really cute egg cups.
Recently, if you'll forgive the term, there have been cracks, little gaps of logic in my theory that I dislike eggs immensely. This started some weeks ago, when I had some eggs leftover from baking and in a spur of domesticity asked Rob if he wanted an omelet. He did, and this was working brilliantly until I realized I had no idea how one makes an omelet. Seriously. He took over, and I was so intrigued by the process that I stole bites of his. I kind of liked it. I've eaten two more since. It confuses me.
This week, I've been scouring over cookbooks trying to find an appealing recipe, as I knew I'd be coming into leftover egg whites shortly - but that post is for another day. Macaroons didn't seem to use quite enough and I didn't need more cookies, but I'm not used to thinking outside the box when it comes to eggs and was running out of ideas. Luckily, today's New York Times snagged my attention with a gruyere puff, quite conveniently also solving the problem of what to do with the other night's leftover gruyere.
The egg whites are more of a concession to the leftover business (you could use the original 3 whole ones it calls for) rather than healthfulness, and any inkling of that is cut short by the ridiculous amount of butter and a mountain of shredded cheese (I find this, in addition to tons of seasoning, is a very good remedy for reducing characteristic eggy taste). I don't think it's quite a puff per se anymore, which is always the difficult thing to know if it looks like it's supposed to when you make a recipe for the first time but alter the heck out of it and use a wider pan, but it has a yummy crisp exterior and a melting inside (it firms up a bit upon standing to cool for a few minutes).
You know what? It's eggs. And it tastes good. Who knows what's next?

adapted from the New York Times Dining, October 4, 2006

8 large egg whites
1/2 c 2% milk
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp onion salt
lots of cracked black pepper
~ 1/2 tsp each onion powder and garlic powder
~ 1 tsp dried dill
1 c shredded gruyere cheese
1 c shredded sharp white cheddar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg whites, milk, flour, and seasonings. Whisk hard until there are no flour lumps remaining and the mixture is a bit foamy and smooth. Stir in the cheeses.
Melt the butter in a 9 or 10-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat. Swirl to coat all sides of the pan thoroughly. Pour in the batter and transfer pan to the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes until a bit puffed and dark golden on top. Let cool just a few minutes in the pan before loosening around the edges with a plastic spatula. Carefully slide out onto a plate and serve hot or warm.


Blogger Helene said...

I love the idea of this being so light and tasty. It looks like a great dinner for myself one night if I cut down on the portions.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Laura Rebecca said...

Oh, that looks so good. Can I have some right now?

10:36 AM  
Blogger emily said...

Helene - I'm glad you like the sound of it, but please don't be fooled into thinking this is health food! As it is, I've determined it 'd be best without some of the cheese anyhow (it is a little heavy in reheating the next day), but you should look to cut back on that first. In addition to lighten it, I'd recommend using a nonstick cook spray instead of the butter.

Laura Rebecca - Go right ahead! Actually, this dish now belongs to what I like to think as my "instant gratification" repertoire: a really easy dish that comes together quickly and cooks quickly . . . so "right now" isn't too far off!

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooh ooh. speaking of eggs and dishes that you've never had. i just had the yummiest quiches from work. i've avoided quiches for 23 years in that foods with 'q's in them for some reason always seemed odd to me. i didnt eat squash until about a year ago and now i love every kind i've had- butternut by far, though zuchinni and yellow squash are good in most dishes as the ubiquitous 'and veg'. if you want to be my working guinnea pig- i'll let you find and make and sample recipes for me so that i can cook some tried and true brunch stuff for us next time you come over. -sara

6:54 PM  

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