A bed of vegetables may sound boring but I guarantee that the eggs and cheese make this humble dish simply divine. Plus, you don’t get any guilt pangs later on. Loaded with goodness but uncompromising on the taste, baked eggs on a bed of vegetables are a perfect way to cleanse after a bout of festive eating or a week of eating out.
Right after I made and tasted baked eggs with broccoli and mushrooms, I knew that I had touched just the tip of so many possibilities. The savoury dish got a dash of sweet and sour from the onions and tomato — but that was only a dash. I wanted the dish to have more flavours and depth in those flavours without having to add any condiments or spices.
How could I achieve that? By adding different tasting vegetables of course! Bell peppers, or capsicums are they are known in India (the green ones are unripe versions of the yellow, orange and red ones) impart acidity, spice, sweetness and a tiny bit of bitterness. And the yellow ones are quite refreshing! Then, you have the sulfury and pungent garlic, tear-inducing strong onions and sweet, sour and savoury tomatoes that transform into flavours drastically different from their raw forms, yet keeping a hint of their former selves. There’s broccoli and mushrooms that bring in an almost meaty flavour. And then you have lightly cooked carrots — those sweet little lads that brighten any dish with their bite and earthiness. Some start to a burst of flavour, this! I had to stop with the vegetables somewhere. And I haven’y even touched upon the eggs and cheese. I used mozzarella as it has a more fresh and milky taste when compared to a stronger cheese like cheddar, and it won’t overpower the dish with its flavour, as it is the first layer you bite into. If you want, you can add zucchinis, green capsicum and potatoes to baked eggs on a bed of vegetables.
I’ve only used a hint of pepper and salt, to only enhance the other flavours and not bring in their own flavour. You see, the eggs and cheese bring in enough salt. You could add more if your palette is so accustomed, and you could also dip each mouthful in mustard. My fellow eaters — the better half and the one-year-old explorer — enjoyed biting into the various textures and were loud with their approvals.
Use the food processor to slice the vegetables up real quick. If you’re happy with the knife, you can prep the dish before you get dressed, or the previous night (no baking at that time), and once you pop it into the oven, you can get on with taking a bath and getting ready for work. This cornucopia contains everything that’ll keep you going until lunch-time. Also, if you have to rush for work, by all means come back and lap it up for dinner — eggs and veggies do not need a time to eat, no?
Loaded with goodness but uncompromising on the taste, baked eggs on a bed of vegetables are a perfect way to cleanse after a bout of festive eating. Plus, no guilt pangs whatsoever. The vegetables, cheese and egg offer a plethora of flavours and textures that make this dish simply divine!
- 150 g broccoli roughly chopped or sliced thin
- 150 g mushrooms (any kind; I used button mushrooms) roughly chopped or sliced thin
- 100 g red capsicum (red bell pepper) (half a capsicum) roughly chopped or sliced thin
- 100 g yellow capsicum (yellow bell pepper) (half a capsicum) roughly chopped or sliced thin
- 100 g carrots sliced thin
- 100 9 mozzarella cheese sliced thin
- 80 g onion (1 medium sized) sliced thin
- 70 g tomatoes (or 1 medium sized tomato) sliced thin
- 5 g garlic sliced thin
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat the oil over a medium flame in a large frying pan or iron skillet, and turn on the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
Once it is hot, add the onions and garlic in. Sauté for a minute.
Add the mushrooms and broccoli in. Sauté for 7-8 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the red and yellow capsicum, the carrots, and salt and pepper.
If you're using an iron skillet, pat the vegetable down a bit, then make 3 little nests and break open each egg in them one by one. If not, transfer the vegetables into a baking dish and pat them down. Then make the 3 little nests to hold the 3 eggs and add the eggs in.
Spread the mozzarella slices over the eggs and vegetables, and keep the iron skillet / baking dish in the oven.
Let it stay in for 15 minutes before you take it out of the oven. If you wish you can leave it in to stay warm after you turn off the heat.
Add more salt and pepper if you wish. I kept the quantity low, so you get to taste the vegetables in their glory. Do get in some egg and cheese along with the vegetables in every bite! You're welcome to use green capsicum (which is more common), otherwise know as green bell peppers. Other vegetable options: potatoes (100 g should do, with a little boiling first), zucchinni, cauliflower and cabbage. Also, if you wish, you can use Emmental cheese (but not cheddar as it's a tad stronger than Emmental and mozzarella). If you happen to have cottage cheese on hand, use that.