“Mama, you know what I call you?” my four-year-old asked me today. I shook my head and crossed my fingers, hoping I wasn’t in store for more preschool-style potty humor.
“My insistent,” he said. “Do you know what insistents do? They tell me what to do and then I do it.”
Oh, kid, if you only knew how much I would relish actually having an “inistent’s” power. I would tell you to clean your room, get ready for school without a fuss, and, for pete’s sake, stop whining. Like, forever. I would tell you to let me sleep in on Mother’s Day and bring me breakfast in bed: A tray laden with a cup of hot tea sweetened with honey and fortified with milk, a bowl of perfect spring strawberries, and these beautiful baked eggs in crunchy potato crusts with parmesan-onion cream filling.
Okay, maybe four is a little young to expect this kind of dexterity in the kitchen, but this recipe is so simple that I bet with a little practice (and some guidance from a wise insistent), even my small child could master it in the foreseeable future. It’s a dish so stunning that any mom, insistent or no, would surely be impressed if it were to appear at her bedside on a tray.
The crust looks extremely fancy, but it is made of just two ingredients: Shredded potatoes and butter. Don’t tell your mom, but you can even use thawed frozen hash brown potatoes (just be sure to buy the kind that are just potatoes or potatoes and dextrose). For the filling, saute some onions, add a bit of heavy cream and some freshly grated parmesan, and spoon it into the crust (which you have pre-baked). Crack an egg on top and you’re done! Well, don’t forget to slide it into a hot oven, set a timer, and get to brewing that tea.
“Insistent!” My son called, needing guidance on the craft project he was working on. I laughed, delighted once again by the politeness of the euphemism.
“Don’t smile about insistents, Mama,” he said, looking very serious. “Insistents have cross mouths.”
- 4 cups shredded potatoes
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 450º Fahrenheit and spray 4 8-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.
- To make the crusts, place the shredded potatoes in a clean dishtowel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible (this can be done in a few batches, if necessary). Toss with the melted butter. Divide the potato mixture evenly among the four prepared ramekins and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust with an even thickness. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until beginning to brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 400º Fahrenheit.
- To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add ¼ cup of the cream. Continue to cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes more, until the cream begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Spoon the sauce into the prepared crusts, dividing equally.
- Break one egg into each ramekin, on top of the onion-cream mixture. Season each with more salt and pepper, as desired, then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of cream, dividing equally. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the white has set but the yoke is still runny.
- Carefully remove the crusts from the ramekins and serve immediately.