Updated: April 7, 2013 6:07AM
Meatless Fridays are easy to endure, save for one meal: breakfast. Eliminating bacon, sausage and ham wouldn’t be such a sacrifice if there was another protein to fill that tummy-rumbling void.
Fickle appetites and applause for general breakfast blandness have practically put into practice a law that segregates fish from eggs — at least in this region of the world.
It’s rare to find fish showing up as the staple protein on a breakfast menu, except for an occasional shrimp and grits recipe or lox, the old standby. It’s even rarer when the fish gets paired with a fried egg. But smoked salmon is a mild fish that offers itself as a wonderful complement to eggs.
On its own, it’s delightfully tasty as a breakfast course; but with eggs and toast, it’s even better.
Baked eggs with salmon is delicious enough to be served as an entree on a special occasion brunch menu, but simple enough to stand in on a Friday during Lent.
Eggs en croute acts as a standard template for a savory filling — in this case, the salmon. However, the beauty of this recipe is that any pop-in will do. Serve it on Sunday with sausage, Monday with mushrooms, and always on Friday with fish.
Ramekins coated with cream and butter swaddle the egg in a flavorful bath. From there, the possibilities are endless. But when working in the salmon, a light blend of herbs (dill, chive and tarragon) mingle nicely with the depth of this oily fish.
A smattering of gruyere or a sharp white cheese bridges the flavors together and when baked to a over-medium point, a serving of eggs en croute is the perfect dish in which to dip points of a good toasted bread.
Salmon at breakfast isn’t anything new. For the Nordic peoples, this is a daily meal. But this recipe blends the flavors of Nordic cuisine with the simplicity of French breakfast fare. To the average American foregoing meat on Fridays, it is delicious luxury.
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese or sharp white cheddar
1/4 pound smoked salmon
Heavy cream (a few tablespoons will do)
Salt and pepper
Brioche toast wedges or another thick, white bread
In a small bowl, combine the herbs and cheese.
Put six ramekins on a baking sheet and place about a tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each one. Place under the boiler for about 3 minutes until butter is melted and bubbly. Swirl around the butter and cream mixture in each ramekin to coat the sides.
Divide salmon among the ramekins, crack an egg into each one, and then top with herb-cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper and return to broiler for an additional 5 or 6 minutes, until the eggs looked cooked.
Remove from oven and let sit for 1 or 2 minutes. Serve with brioche toast wedges.