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~Baked Eggs in Birds Nests (Hash Brown Potatoes)~

IMG_6213When I woke up this morning and looked in the refrigerator, it was time to decide what to do with the extra two dozen eggs, sitting next to the two dozen eggs I regularly keep in my refrigerator. On Sunday I posted my recipe for ~ The Benefits of Baking Eggs & Bacon for Breakfast ~, and yesterday, I made said baked eggs on camera for my weekly cooking segment on WHVL-TV's Centre of It All Show.  So why did I buy more eggs than I needed?  One thing I've learned about being on TV is:  if you need 1 quart of milk, buy 2, because if the milk accidentally gets spilled, there's no time to cry over it, you've got to quickly replace it and move on!

IMG_5971As I mentioned in Sunday's post (which can be found in Categories 9 & 20 or by clicking the Related Article link below) and on camera: "baking eggs in standard-sized muffin pans has been on B&B menus for years, which is where I first ate bacon-wrapped baked eggs."  On that same trip to Cape May, NJ, the hostess served them two ways:  Bacon and Baked Egg Muffins (pictured here), and Baked Eggs in Birds Nests.  We each got one of each on our plates.  Millie was also kind enough to briefly explain to me how she made both!

Millie B decided to close her B&B in 1992, but my versions of her recipes live on (as does Millie):

IMG_6177What a fun way to start your day -- or anyone elses day!

IMG_6076~ Step 1.  In the microwave, partially-bake/undercook:

1,  10-ounce potato for every 3 hash brown birds nests 

until tender enough to pierce through to the center w/a fork, but not easily enough to slice and eat.

Note:  In my GE Profile Advantium oven, 2 potatoes took 7 minutes.

IMG_6097~ Step 2.  Set potatoes aside until cool enough to comfortably hold and handle with your hands, about 20 minutes.

~ Step 3.  Using a paring knife, slice the pole ends from each potato (to make a flat surface), stand each up on its side and remove the skin.  

~ Step 4.  Using a hand-held box grater, shred the potatoes, distributing them on a 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  

IMG_6100Note:  I hold the box grater several inches above the pan and move the grater back and forth as I work.  This allows the the potatoes to fall freely and randomly onto the pan.

IMG_6108~ Step 5. Season the potatoes with:

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

granulated onion powder

IMG_6114~ Step 4.  Lightly "spritz" the inside of 6, standard-size muffin cups with:

no-stick cooking spray.

Place a layer of shredded potatoes in the bottom of each cup.  Begin adding potatoes, working your way up and around the sides of, and slightly overlapping the top of, each cup, to build six "birds nests".

IMG_6121Note:  As you are building, "lightly" add the potatoes, meaning:  allow the sides to remain light and airy, and don't press them firmly against the sides or over the top of the pan.

IMG_6123That being said, if you have a wooden tart tamper, lightly pressing down on the bottom of each nest will make for a prettier presentation in the end!

IMG_6133 IMG_6126~ Step 6. Bake the empty nests on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven until lightly golden, about 12-14 minutes.

Note:  Remember, these are going to bake again once the eggs go into them, so don't let them start to burn.

Remove from oven, place the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely, about 45 minutes.

IMG_6149~ Step 7.  While the nests are cooling, bring:

6  large eggs

to room temperature.

IMG_6146Carefully crack one egg into the center of each nest and season with:

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.

IMG_6163 IMG_6153                                              ~ Step 8. Bake eggs on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven, until eggs are done to your liking.  My family likes them with soft, runny yolks, which takes 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, slide a thin spatula down the side and underneath each nest, remove from pan and serve immediately:

IMG_6231Baked Eggs in Birds Nests (Hash Brown Potatoes):  Recipe yields 6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  microwave oven; paring knife; box grater; 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pan; parchment paper; standard-size muffin pan; wooden tart tamper (optional); cooling rack; thin spatula

IMG_7504Cook's Note:  If you are a lover of runny yolks (as am I), back in December I posted my recipe for ~ A Simply Satisfying Breakfast: Soft-Cooked Eggs ~.  You can find it in Categories 9 or 20!

Shortly after I posted this recipe, a lot of you wanted to know more about these adorable chick-a-dee egg cups.  I can't guarantee they're still available, but I bought them back in December and found them on!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013) 


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