Prepare these charming nests ahead of time. When the guests arrive, bake the tomatoes in a hot oven, then serve them with a basket of grilled or toasted bread rubbed lightly with a garlic clove.
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons plus
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chervil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound garden lettuces
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the bread crumbs with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place on a baking sheet in the hot oven for 5 or 6 minutes to dry them out. Do not brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Rinse and dry off the tomatoes. Insert a sharp paring knife into the top of each tomato and cut out a 2-inch-diameter section. Gently remove the pulp and seeds with a spoon to create a little cup. Season the tomatoes liberally with salt. Crack an egg into each tomato. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Put the tomatoes on a small sheet pan or in a shallow baking dish and place them in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
Combine the tarragon, chervil, and shallot with the bread crumbs while the tomatoes are baking. After 10 minutes, sprinkle the bread crumb mixture and 1/2 teaspoon of the butter over the top of each egg. Continue to bake for 6 more minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the eggs are just set.
Dress the garden lettuces with the 2 tablespoons of oil and the vinegar and place on four salad plates. Remove the tomatoes with a spatula and nestle them into the lettuce.
Country Egg, City Egg
By Gayle Pirie and John Clark
Artisan, April 2000
128 Pages, 50 illustrations
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created May 2000
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