I do not always develop my own recipes. For years I’ve subscribed to various cooking magazines, and I take inspiration from what I find in their pages. Tonight’s dinner was inspired by Eating Well’s Sunny-Side Beans. I used the green beans from my most recent CSA delivery, and thankfully I found some nice English peas at the farmer’s market this morning. I was really excited to find the peas because in my recent travels to Denmark, I discovered how delicious raw, fresh-shelled peas can be. I bought more peas than I needed for the recipe so that I could snack on some as I shelled the rest for dinner!
While recipes inspire me, I always deviate from them based on what I have on hand. Eating Well’s recipe gave me a base, but I did make some changes to their ingredients. The original idea, however, was definitely theirs!
1 1/2 c. water
12 oz. green beans
1 c. fresh shelled peas
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1/2 c. shredded fontina cheese (or swiss would work, too)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Shell your peas! The original recipe suggests frozen baby lima beans as an alternative, and I think they would work really well, too. Make sure to taste the deliciousness of a fresh pea or two before cooking them!
Trim the green beans and cut them into 1 inch pieces, making sure to go through and make sure there aren’t any loose little leaves or blossoms.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add green beans and peas. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (The beans will not be completely submerged in the liquid.) Stir in minced onion, butter and salt. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until the butter is melted.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Fill four 10-ounce ovenproof ramekins with hot water to warm them while the oven preheats.
Place them on a baking sheet. Spoon a few tablespoons of beans into each ramekin, then sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Divide the rest of the bean mixture between the servings, topping with the rest of the cheese. Using a large spoon, make a 1/2-inch-deep well in the beans for each egg. Break an egg into each well.
Bake until the egg whites are just set, 15 to 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes; if necessary, continue to bake, checking every minute or two, until the whites are set but the yolks are still liquid. Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes; the eggs will continue to cook a little bit. Serve with a generous grinding of pepper on top.
If you are used to cooking for one or two people, like I am, then I’m sure you’ve run into the difficulty of having baked eggs for leftovers. If you make all the servings for dinner one night, and reheat a serving for dinner the next, the eggs become over cooked, and they are definitely not as good. My suggestion, as this is what I did, is follow the recipe all the way until you start to assemble the ramekins. Store the beans/peas mixture in the refrigerator, and when you want to make another serving, assemble it, and continue with the directions. That way your egg is fresh and perfectly cooked for your second dinner of this wonderful meal!