Shirred (baked) eggs were once a common menu item at American restaurants. I think they went out of favor because they take more effort than the usual fried or scrambled preparations and customers probably were not willing to pay for them. Nevertheless, shirred eggs are delicious, and, like omelettes, they can be prepared a zillion different ways.
In this recipe, I make them with ham (or Canadian bacon), cheese (Parmagiano or Emmentaler are good choices) and mushrooms (almost any kind). I flavor the mushrooms with a bit of fortified wine (Marsala, Madeira or sweet sherry are good possibilities) and toss in some fresh chopped herbs. Feel free to leave out anything that you don't like, or add stuff that you do like.
To make this dish, you will need to use rectangular or oval gratin dishes just large enough to hold 2 eggs side by side. I like to make this dish under the broiler, but you have to keep your eye on it to ensure that it doesn't burn or overcook. If you don't want to do that, bake in a preheated 375° oven.
This recipe is for 4 people, assuming two eggs per person.
1 Tbs Butter
1/2 Lb Mushrooms, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
2 Cloves Garlic, pressed
2 Tbs Marsala, Madeira or sherry
1/2 Cup Heavy cream
4 Slices Ham or Canadian bacon
2 Tbs Minced mixed herbs
2 Tbs Grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbs Heavy cream
4 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Chopped chives
Sauté the mushrooms in butter until they have given up their water, about 3-5 minutes. Add a bit of salt and the garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the wine and cook until most of it has evaporated. Add cream and cook until the cream has thickened. Set mushroom mixture aside.
Grease the gratin dishes with butter and line each dish with the ham. It is OK if the ham goes up the sides of the dish. Spoon the mushroom mixture on top of the ham. Carefully break two eggs into each dish. Then top the eggs with salt and pepper, the cheese, the chopped herbs, a Tbs of cream and a Tbs of butter. Place the gratin dishes on top of a baking sheet and place under the broiler about 6" from the heating element. Broil until the eggs are just set, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven. The eggs will continue to cook and should be perfect when you serve them. At the last minute garnish with choipped chives.