In her new cookbook My Kitchen Year, champion of home cooking and noted memoirist Ruth Reichl painstakingly recounts the difficult year after she was laid off from her high profile job at (now defunct) Gourmet magazine. Here, Reichl shares a recipe from the book, one which she describes as "the world's most comforting dish." Indeed, is there anything as inviting as an egg slowly baked atop a pillow of buttery mashed potatoes? If there is, we haven't found it yet. Make this essential breakfast recipe for your loved ones this weekend. Reichl notes, "each bite reminds you why you're glad to be alive."
Shirred Eggs With Potato Puree
4 to 5 young Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound)
3/4 cup cream, divided
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 Tbsp. butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins
Chopped chives or crumbled bacon, for garnish (optional)
• Peel the potatoes and cut them into half-inch slices. Put them in a pot, cover them with an inch of cold water and add a teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the water to a boil, reduce it to a mere burble and cook for 20 minutes, until the flesh offers no resistance when you pierce it with a fork.
• Drain the potatoes and put them through a ricer. Or mash them really well with a potato masher. In a pinch, use a fork. Season with a light shower of freshly ground pepper. Melt the butter and stir in half a cup of the cream. Now comes the fun part. Whisk the cream mixture into the potatoes and watch them turn into a smooth, seductive puree. Season to taste, doing your best to keep from simply gobbling everything up.
• Heat an oven to 375° F and put a kettle of water on to boil.
• Butter 4 little ramekins and put about an inch of the potato puree into each. Now, gently crack an egg on top of each, being careful not to break the yolks. Set the ramekins in a deep baking dish, pour boiling water around them (be careful not to splash either yourself or the contents of the ramekins) and set the dish in the oven for about 8 minutes, until the whites of the eggs have just begun to set.
• Spoon a tablespoon of heavy cream over the egg in each ramekin and bake for another 5 minutes, or so, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Garnish with flakes of salt, bits of chopped chive; or, if you're inclined to true indulgence, crisp crumbles of bacon.
Excerpted from My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl. Copyright © 2015 by Ruth Reichl. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.