Have guests staying at your place for the holidays and need a make-ahead brunch? These baked eggs are the go. The combination of eggs and smoked salmon will always feel luscious and celebratory. Yet with the addition of kale and goat cheese (and the omission of hollandaise), this feels a bit more balanced than your typical salmon Benedict.
Plus, after 30-45 minutes of prep, these can sit in the fridge for a day or two before you are ready to bake them. (With plans to make these for a friend’s wedding brunch, I tested make-ahead time thoroughly on this recipe.) This relieves you of the need to cook guests brunch when you are also trying to cook dinner–or just enjoy time with visiting friends and family.
Best part: champagne goes great with smoked salmon. Brunch away!
Baked eggs with smoked salmon and kale (serves 4)
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen
Garlic bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2/3 cup dried or fresh bread crumbs (I ground my own from a loaf of ciabatta)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
6 ounces of kale, rinsed, not too well dried, coarsely chopped (I made more but then nibbled on it as I cooked, oops)
Sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
85 grams smoked salmon (this is more than enough for four servings)
4-8 large eggs (depending on if you want 1 or 2 eggs per dish)
5 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
Melt the butter in a skillet with a cover over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, then mix in the bread crumbs, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are nicely toasted, three to five minutes. When done, scrape the bread crumbs into a small bowl and set aside.
Wipe the pan clean and melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and wet kale; season with salt and pepper (or red pepper flakes). Cover the pan and let the kale steam until wilted and soft, about five minutes, lifting the lid and turning the kale a few times while it’s cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat four small baking dishes (such as 8-ounce gratin dishes or ramekins) with nonstick spray or a liberal amount of butter. Divide the kale between the dishes. Tear the smoked salmon into large, bite-sized pieces and lay them over the kale. Crack two or three eggs into each dish and crumble the cheese over the eggs. Dribble a tablespoon of heavy cream over each of the dishes and sprinkle two to three tablespoons of breadcrumbs on each.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked until your desired doneness (see note, below). Serve immediately.
*Make ahead: You can prepare the breadcrumbs, sauté the kale, and place the kale and salmon in the ramekins or gratin dishes in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to three days; finish assembly before you are ready to cook. If you’re doing it the night before, you can assemble all (including the eggs, cheese, and cream) except the bread crumbs, cover in plastic wrap, and bake in the morning.
**An important note on cooking times: These can vary wildly based on your baking dishes’ volume and depth as well as the number of eggs you put in each serving. To give you an idea: my ramekins are 8 ounces each, but since they are deeper than, say, an 8-ounce gratin dish or a 6-ounce ramekin, and since I put two eggs in each ramekin, they took 20 minutes to cook (for set whites and runny yolks). In short: use the recipe as written as a guide, but jiggle the dishes to check the eggs for desired doneness before taking them out of the oven.
Substitutions: feel free to substitute cured ham for the salmon, if you wish, or some other sturdy green for the kale.