This is what I would call an upgraded “egg in a basket.” Forget about punching out a hole in your bread and cooking an egg in the middle. No, wait …they’re actually pretty darn good, too. But really, give this a try. Especially now. While the amazing delicata squash is in season. The skin is so thin (guess that’s what they mean by “delicata”) that once these guys roast a bit, the skin is completely tender and delicious.
To make the crispy herbed crumbs, don’t be tempted to use packaged breadcrumbs. It makes such a difference to make your own fresh breadcrumbs. Just take a piece or two of your favorite hearty bread and place it in a food processor. Pulse a few times. That’s how easy it is. You want to have crumbs along with some slightly larger chunks so that the topping has some extra crunch and texture. I use my mini food processor but a rough chop with your chef knife would work, too.
In the ovenproof skillet that you’ll be using for the squash cups, heat up the olive oil and add the smashed garlic clove. The garlic will become mellow and delicious while flavoring the oil. After a few minutes, remove the garlic and set it aside to cool. Add the breadcrumbs and give them a few minutes to become golden and crispy. Transfer them to a bowl, add your seasoning along with the parsley and shredded parmesan. Chop up that golden garlic clove and mix that in. You now have the most amazing crispy herbed crumbs. Set them aside so they are handy when the egg cups exit the oven.
And if you don’t use all of the crumbs on the egg cups …save them! They are delicious on grilled or roasted veggies!
Be sure to scrub the squash thoroughly before preparing it. You’ll be cutting the squash into thick cross sections to form the cups.
When you’ve dressed the squash cups in oil and seasoned them with salt & pepper, add some fresh thyme sprigs for extra flavor. If the diameter of the opening that you’ve created is larger on one end, place the squash cup in the skillet with the larger end face down. That way, when you flip it over and add the egg it will form a better vessel. Be sure to remove the thyme stems before adding the eggs.
These beauties will spend another ten minutes or so in the oven. Just until the egg whites are set. If you like your eggs more well done, just add a few extra minutes to the baking time.
Sprinkle the tops of the egg cups generously with the crispy herbed crumbs. Enjoy immediately while the egg yolks are a bit runny and the topping is crunchy. Garnish with some fresh thyme sprigs, if you like. Gorgeous with a total yum factor.
baked delicata egg cups & crispy herbed crumbs
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Enjoy these "eggs in a basket" for breakfast, brunch or anytime.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled & gently smashed
- 1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (see Recipe Notes)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 pound delicata squash, washed & trimmed (about 8 to 9 inches in length)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In an 8- or 9-inch cast-iron or oven-going skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic clove; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove the garlic; finely chop and set aside. Add the bread crumbs to the skillet; cook 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in the chopped garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; let cool. Stir in the cheese and chopped parsley.
Cut the squash into four 1 3/4- to 2-inch- thick rings. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seeds and flesh to create a 1 1/2- to a 2-inch-diameter hole.
Wipe the skillet. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the squash rings, turning to coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bake for 15 minutes and flip the squash over. Remove the thyme stems. Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl; slide it into a squash ring. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes more or until the egg whites are set. Top with the breadcrumb mixture. If desired, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.
To make fresh breadcrumbs, break up 1 to 2 pieces of hearty bread and add them to the bowl of a food processor; give it a couple quick pulses until the bread is coarsely chopped.