At the very end of July, I spent a truly delightful long weekend with my far better half in North Yorkshire. To say it we had a packed agenda is a slight understatement. Following some near torrential rain in the morning, we held off for a glimmer of sunshine on the horizon for our drive from my village of Heath to Malton, North Yorkshire – dubbed the ‘Food Capital’ of Yorkshire – and a well-deserved accolade. Sadly, many things in this world are over-hyped and a disappointment – we were genuinely taken aback by this modest sized market town and its focus on local food. From Yorkshire made dried pasta, incredible artisan bread from The Bluebird bakery, and a great selection of fresh organic vegetables – we were genuinely spoiled for choice.
The following day, we drove from Malton to Whitby (a spectacular drive through the Yorkshire Moors), stopping off for lunch prior to taking the 200 steps leading to the Whitby Abbey Ruins – famed for being the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Gothic horror, ‘Dracula’. Being led to believe by the tourist information office that the walk was ‘just six miles’ to the very popular destination of Robin Hood Bay, we had in mind that the walk would be leisurely and we even entertained the idea of returning back to Whitby on foot. We were certainly in for a surprise – it turned out into quite the workout. En route, we encountered a number of far better equipped Nordic walkers replete with walking poles and other hiking paraphernalia – they too seemed equally knackered by the coastal perambulation by the time they reached their destination!
To add to our time constraints, the clock was certainly ticking as we had a wedding reception to attend (congratulations again Lindsey and Andy) in the lovely grounds of Aldby Park, Buttercrambe. Sadly, due to time (we were certainly short-changed in the eating department that day), we had to leave prematurely to stock up on some calories and vowed to make amends the following day.
Most impromptu recipes I tend to come up with are typically based on what I can quickly find rummaging through the fridge and cupboards (I should really plan in advance a lot better), an idea in my head (that ingredients should work with another), and time – the need to whip up something nutritious and tasty as speedily as possible. I had originally thought of making something along the lines of a smoked salmon and Egg Benedict, but personally find the texture too rich for my palate. Inspired by one of the vegetarian pizzas I had made recently, I thought I’d use the same core topping ingredients and oven bake in a ramekin instead. I really think that this Baked eggs with spinach, chilli, and red onion recipe put a check in all the right boxes and is certainly something I’ll revisit (and most likely tweak) again in the future. Enjoy!
- 1 x large red onion, finely diced
- 1 x large clove garlic, grated or finely sliced
- zest of one unwaxed lemon
- 2 -3 large flat parsley leaves, thinly shredded
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 x red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- 2 x tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 blocks frozen whole spinach leaves, defrosted and drained
- 4 x large free-range eggs
- 15-20 g finely grated hard cheese (Parmesan or Cretan Graviera Cheese)
- 10g butter
- Freshly milled black pepper and sea salt
- First, add the frozen spinach to a bowl of cold water, and allow to soak for 20 mins. Stir thoroughly to prevent the frozen blocks from clumping together. Then, transfer to a sieve.
- Meanwhile, grease 4 large ramekins with butter, and preheat the oven to 200 centigrade.
- Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat, then add the lemon zest, red chilli, and red onion, then sweat for 2-3 mins.
- Next, add the grated garlic and shredded parsley, stir well, and continue to cook for another 1-2 mins.
- Then, squeeze out as much water possible from the spinach in the sieve, and add to the pan. Add the lemon juice, season well with pepper and salt, and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture and divide equally into to the four ramekins.
- Using the pointed end of an egg, push down into the middle of each each spinach and red onion mixture to form a well, and carefully break the egg so that the yolk sits firmly in the centre.
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the eggs.
- Place on a flat baking tray, and bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove from oven, add the grated cheese, season well, then return to oven and bake for a further 5-6 minutes.
- Serve baking hot.