Ellen Clifford
June 06, 2015 7:45 am

“Bowls” are so very popular right now. Açai bowls, burrito bowls, bread bowls…putting a bunch of stuff together in a bowl is trending hard. And with good reason. As Sara Forte, the author of Bowl and Spoon puts it, bowl foods are “nestled within each other, tangled to make the most sense as a sum of their parts”. That description makes bowls sound downright sensual. Which food should be! It does engage all your senses-sight, sound (the sizzle of a skillet for example), smell, taste (of course) and if like me you like getting in there with your hands, touch too. By the way, eating with your fingers is seriously underrated.

I digress. Forte rose to prominence as creator of the blog Sprouted Kitchen. A collaboration between her and her husband Hugh Forte, the site focuses on whole foods. Like the blog, the book features her recipes and her husband’s photography. The “bowl” idea sprang from her husband’s response when asked what Sara’s specialty was. He replied “bowl foods”. Smart answer.

Her bowls are brimming over with health. There is a lot of quinoa and kale action going on. Cauliflower is coerced into being couscous, and zucchini is slivered into silky noodles. If we are going to get specific about the bowls, we’d say veggie-centric is her style. She includes a fair amount of dishes for carnivores too, but meat is used in moderation. If her bowls are outer space, then vegetables are the stars around which proteins and grains orbit. Metaphorically speaking. Okay, I’m reaching with that one, so I am going to get to the recipe.

There is almost nothing I adore more in a savory dish than putting an egg on top. It is a perfect protein. And the only thing better than eggs is bread. This dish includes both so I’m giving it a gold star for ingredients. It’s got a few steps to it but comes together relatively quickly. It actually is more “ramekin and fork” than “bowl and spoon” material, but in spirit it is a bowl. It is under the “breakfast” category in the book but I made it for a casual 2 am snack. It pairs well with margaritas, incidentally. If you go the breakfast route with this I might advise pairing with a different beverage, if you are into being functional or whatever. But if it’s brunch at midnight? Go crazy. Enjoy!

Baked Eggs with Barely Creamed Greens and Mustardy Bread Crumbs adapted from Bowl and Spoon by Sara Forte

  • 1 Tbsp. course ground mustard (I used spicy brown)
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (got my Grey Poupon on)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh torn bread, in bite-sized pieces (I used rye)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stemmed and chopped-around 9 cups (Forte gives the option of spinach, kale, or a mix and I had baby spinach, so used that)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter plus more for pans
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (I had half-and-half)
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 8 eggs, room temperature (my ramekins were a bit small so I ended up using only 4)
  • 3/4 cups grated Gruyére cheese (I unfortunately only had mozzarella but that turned out well too)
  • thyme sprigs to garnish
  • parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and put the rack in the upper third. Butter 4 gratin dishes or large ramekins and put on a baking sheet. In a small bowl mix the course ground mustard, 1 Tbsp. of the Dijon, the olive oil and salt. Add the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet (not the one with the ramekins!) and bake 10-12 minutes. Let them get nice and toasty. Put them aside and keep oven on.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add a smidgen of water to cover the bottom then add the greens. Toss until they wilt, 2-ish minutes. It will depend on the green you pick how long you toss. My baby spinach took less time. Once wilted, transfer to a strainer and press out the liquid. You’ll have about two cups. Wipe out the skillet then add the butter and melt over medium heat. add the greens, remaining tablespoon of Dijon, cream, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir until warm and thickened, about 3 minutes.

Divide the greens between your ramekins and bake on the sheet in the upper third of the oven for 8 minutes. The remove the sheet and crack two eggs into each dish. If, like me your ramekins are small you can cut it down to one egg. Sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper, then sprinkle on the cheese, dividing evenly. Baked for six minutes-you want the whites set and the yolks a wee bit runny. Take out of the oven and don’t forget to turn it off. Let them sit a minute to settle, then sprinkle on the bread crumbs plus some parsley and thyme to garnish.

“Reprinted with permission from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.” Photography credit: Hugh Forte © 2015

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