Our clocks changed yesterday.
I kind of forgot it would be happening, and of course the clock I keep by my bed is actually my phone, and that changes automatically. So I thought I was getting out of bed pretty early yesterday morning, and it wasn’t until I was going to make my second cup of tea and I glanced at the clock on the microwave and thought holy crap, how did that happen?!
Because we live so far north it has already been getting dark quite early, but now that the clocks have changed? Woah momma. There is a payback for the never-setting sun we get in the summer, and it is mighty.
The darkness always makes me feel like I’m late for something. It also makes me feel like it’s definitely late enough for a glass of wine even when it’s only 2pm. On a Monday. (Judge not).
Swedes are very fond of “cozy” (mysig in Swedish),which is a word my fellow expat friends remarked that we find ourselves using much more than we used to. Getting cozy is the best way to cope with the darkness. Light a lot of candles – I burn through a 100 pack of tea lights per week in the winter months. Make a lot of social plans – a Friday night in with friends and wine and lots and lots of candles is very cozy indeed. And, make warm, soul satisfying, cozy food.
What could be cozier than baked eggs? Baked eggs nestled in with spinach and ricotta, that’s what. It’s the epitome of coziness.
I love this dish because it’s simple and warm and delicious, it’s elegant, it’s nutritious, and it’s easily made for dinner for one or two or more. Although I’m introducing this as a sort of wintry dish, it’s actually fairly seasonless depending on what sort of greens you stir into the ricotta, and what herbs you choose to go with. Since we’re sort of straddling the seasons at the moment, I’ve used a bit of dried thyme together with some bright lemon zest, but there are a million different ways you could go.
If you’re lucky enough to still have greens in your garden, you could replace the spinach with a handful of chard, or with ribbons of thinly sliced kale. I like to go a bit heavy on the greens because, well, because that’s the kind of girl I am, but if you’re after a richer more indulgent dish, ease up on them a bit and let the ricotta shine through.
This is the kind of dish that makes for a perfect lazy weekend brunch, but also comes together quickly enough for a harried weeknight supper. I’ve written the instructions to be dinner for one as that is how I have it most often, but it’s easily doubled, tripled, or more. For a make-ahead meal you could keep individual ramekins already buttered and stuffed with cheese and greens on layaway in the fridge, and when mealtime rolls around it’s simply a matter of cracking a couple of eggs into the dish. Served with buttery toast, it’s a dish well worth having in your arsenal.
Eggs are a natural, nutrient-rich whole food and an amazing source of high quality protein. In fact, many public health authorities use eggs as the reference standard against which protein qualities are evaluated.
Eggs contain all 8 B-vitamins, along with folic acid. Vitamin B12 and choline are particularly abundant in eggs. Eggs are also a very good source of selenium and iodine.
But what about cholesterol? Well, several large-scale studies conducted recently have suggested that the cholesterol content of eggs in relation to heart disease may be less of a concern than previously thought. Interestingly, a relationship between egg intake and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol has also been observed. However, those with type 2 diabetes should speak to their doctors about including eggs in their diets, as there is a connection between egg intake and cardiovascular problems in that specific population.
Is one part of an egg better than the other? As it turns out, the nutrients found in an egg are distributed fairly evenly between the white and the yolk. The white has more protein, magnesium, potassium, and B3, whereas the yolk has more omega-3 fatty acids, folate, choline, B12, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K.
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- butter, for greasing the ramekin
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup roughly chopped spinach
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp lemon zest (optional)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
- 2 slices bread for serving
- Preheat your oven to 375°F / 195°C
- Butter a ramekin or small baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, spinach, thyme, lemon zest, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper.
- Place the ricotta mixture into the prepared ramekin, and create two small wells for the eggs.
- Crack 2 eggs into the ramekins, drizzle with a touch of olive oil, and place in the oven.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are still a bit runny.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot with buttered toast.
Recipe adapted from Camille Styles