Recently I came into a set of cast-iron pans, right around the same time that a friend gave me a carton of beautiful, farm-fresh eggs. Cast iron is ideal when you have a dish that needs to go directly from the stove top to the oven, and since they had a previous owner before me, they came already seasoned and ready to use.
As I admired my gorgeous eggs, I decided to break in my new cookware with an easy and delicious dish I call One Pan Summer Egg Bake. This is a dish that can be prepared and ready to eat in about 30 to 35 minutes, and the leftovers can be refrigerated for several days and reheated just before serving.
What I love about this dish is its simplicity - everything is cooked in the same pan, from start to finish, meaning less time required for preparation and cleanup. The only dishes I need to wash after making this egg bake is my skillet, a spoon and the bowl I use to beat the eggs.
For this recipe, I've chosen a mix of meat and vegetables to create a hearty egg dish that is perfect to serve at a summer brunch, for lunch or even a light dinner. This is a fluid recipe, meaning that the amounts I'm using for each ingredient can easily be adjusted according to your needs and taste.
The first step is to beat the eggs with a bit of milk and any other flavor add-ins you might enjoy, like salt and pepper, fresh herbs or your favorite hot sauce. Once they're frothy and well combined, set the eggs aside and move on to the main dish.
Bacon is my meat of choice here, and as the first ingredient to be cooked it sets the flavor tone for the entire dish. I cook the bacon until it's crispy, then remove it from the pan and use the bacon fat and drippings to cook the rest of the ingredients. You could skip this step and use canola oil instead for a healthier alternative, but you won't get all that good smoky flavor that the bacon fat brings.
Yellow onion and garlic are added to further ensure great flavor, and once they become fragrant and start to soften, I'll add the remaining vegetables in stages to ensure even cooking. Asparagus and mushrooms are some of my favorites veggies to pair with eggs, and I add them next as they take about the same amount of time to cook. Once they're slightly softened, I add diced Roma tomatoes followed by a couple handfuls of fresh spinach leaves.
Once the egg mixture is added, I stir in the bacon and finish the dish with a good sprinkling of shredded cheese which gives the top of the egg bake a lovely golden crust. For this for this recipe I'm using a Monterey Jack-Cheddar blend, but any good melting cheese will work.
This One Pan Summer Egg Bake is gorgeous to look at, easy to make and even better to eat. Enjoy!
One Pan Summer Egg Bake
Serves: 4 to 6
4 large or extra-large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled into pieces.
½ medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
6 asparagus spears, bottom ends removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 roma tomato, diced
1 cup fresh spinach leaves (about 2 large handfuls)
¾ cup shredded cheese, Monterey Jack-Cheddar blend or other good melting cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and position rack in the center.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, basil, salt and pepper together until frothy and well combined; set aside.
In a 9 or 10-inch cast iron or oven-proof skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble into bite-size pieces.
Cook the onions in the bacon grease over medium heat for 2 minutes, until they start to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking for about 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and asparagus and cook for another 2 minutes until slightly tender, stirring often. Stir in the diced tomatoes and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then add the spinach leaves and cook just until they start to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, add the crumbled bacon and stir to evenly distribute the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and transfer pan to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown and bubble and the edges are golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.
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