At this point, you probably think that you've read everything there is to read about different ways to prepare eggs. There are the usual ways (scrambled, soft-boiled, hard-boiled/steamed/baked, sunny-side up, poached, the "overs") and the more unusual ways (in clouds, crispy poached, deviled, golden hard-boiled), but this way tops them all.
I'm talking about sheet pan eggs, recently touted by Ali Slagle at Food52 as her new favorite way to make eggs for a crowd. And also our new favorite way to cook eggs for the whole week.
They're versatile (you can use them in a bunch of recipes), as easy as they come (scramble, pour, bake, cut), and leave you with a pretty quick cleanup (one bowl, one pan, one whisk, no hassles). Here's how to make them:
- Preheat oven to 300ºF and liberally grease a half-sheet pan.
- Break eggs into a large bowl, add salt, pepper, and half-and-half or cream, then whisk thoroughly. Be sure to whisk them well or they won't fluff up properly.
- Add in any of the other ingredients you are including (I used scallions) except the cheese, and stir again.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared sheet pan.
- Sprinkle with cheese if using, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, but start checking for doneness at around 12 minutes (I wish I had–more on that later). The eggs will continue to cook for a few minutes in the pan once they come out of the oven, so better to be a bit underdone than overdone.
- Remove the baked sheet of eggs from the oven, allow to cool slightly (and cook a bit more), and either cut in the pan (if your eggs are slightly overcooked, like mine were) or flip onto a cutting board and cut them there.
I'm glad you asked! There are quite a number of things you can do with an entire sheet of baked eggs, some of which you might do with "regular" scrambled eggs and others you might not have thought of.
Usually when adding an egg to fried rice, you just break the egg into the dish as it's cooking and stir furiously to get the egg to cook with the rice and veggies.
But with the egg precooked and also preloaded with vegetables (skip the cheese for this preparation), you can leave the chunks fairly large and add a lovely, creamy texture to each bite of your fried rice.
Traditional egg salad is, of course, made with hard-boiled eggs. Sometimes it's too dry, sometimes it's too goopy... it's kind of a crapshoot, depending on how your hard-boiled eggs turn out. But when I made it with sheet pan eggs, the texture was lighter and fluffier and, because the scallions have cooked with the eggs, they had a much more mellow flavor than when I put them in raw.
I added the usual condiments of mayo and mustard, but I also threw in some briny capers to give the egg salad a little more tang. Topped with crunchy radish, and placed on little sandwich buns, these would make a wonderful addition to a baby shower luncheon or even a kid's lunchbox.
Ali Slagle was most excited about the fact that these eggs can be cut into squares that fit perfectly between slices of sandwich bread. With the added greens and a slather of herb butter, this would be a wonderful way to start the day. Or put on a bacon weave!
I wanted to test the versatility of this preparation, so I cut four rounds out of the sheet. I placed two in-between sheets of parchment and stuck in the fridge in a zippered baggie; and I did the same thing to the other two, but I placed them in the freezer. I left my egg rounds in their respective cold places overnight.
Note: these eggs will last in your fridge about 3-4 days, and about a month in the freezer.
There was a fair amount of condensed moisture on the inside of the baggie with the refrigerated eggs, even though they'd been cool when I put them away, so I had to pat them dry before using them.
I heated up a pat of butter in a small pan, sandwiched a round slice of cheese between the two egg circles, and reheated/recooked them while allowing the cheese to get all melty and gooey. I topped it with a dollop of red pepper puree, and I have to say—the eggs were not at all rubbery, the butter added a nice dimension to them that was more like traditional scrambled eggs, and the cheese made it seem more like a real omelet.
Eggs Benedict are a brunch fav, but poaching eggs can be a real hassle. And I prefer regular bacon to Canadian (sorry, friends to the north).
I microwaved the frozen egg rounds, still covered by their parchment paper envelopes but removed from the plastic baggie, in 15-second intervals at 50% until they were hot. To ensure even heating, I flipped and rotated them on the plate.
I toasted an English muffin, laid down some bacon, placed an egg round on each half, and topped it with some Hollandaise sauce. While I can't honestly say that the eggs were as creamy and buttery as in the omelet "sandwich," they weren't so rubbery as to be off-putting. And the convenience factor can't be beat.
These are just a few suggestions for how to use a sheet pan of baked eggs. You could cut them into strips and use them in pasta (or ramen!), or even use them as pasta. They would be a great addition as the protein in a salad with spicy greens like arugula or radicchio, or as the filling in a breakfast burrito.
No matter what you make, the cleanup from these eggs is going to be easy. Then you still have lots of energy to enjoy all of the dishes you can make with sheet pan baked eggs.