I am writing you from the road. I have recently spent quite a bit of time in France. I traveled there to spend a week with friends in the home of Julia Child. My friend Kathy asked me way back in August if I would be interested in meeting her and some others there. I jumped on the chance as it was right around the same time that I was trying to finalize what I would do with all my time off from work.
If you are not aware, Julia Child built this home in France with her husband in the 1960’s. It was then later sold to a woman who owned it until 2015. That is when I saw an article in the New York Times that the home was up for sale. Of course I dreamed what it would be like to live there, but low and behold a woman from the USA purchased it with the intention to rent it out by the week, along with holding cooking and yoga classes there.
The home is in the south of France - Chateauneuf-Grasse to be exact. It is set way back off a country road where you turn off onto a tight, slightly uphill, curved, bumpy, unpaved road that leads to a couple of homes. Julia’s is set towards the back of this patch of land. The home is quaint with pool off the front of the home, and a patio overlooking the driveway that leads down toward the road. The home hosts three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a long living / dinning area, and (of course) her gourmet kitchen. The experience of the home is lovely and a bit old world French for this city girl. But nonetheless, I deeply enjoyed it. While there, I read though Julia’s old cookbooks, traveled to local markets for produce, toured the country side, made a few simple meals, and indulged in the quiet of my surroundings.
One morning I woke earlier than my friends and went into the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone. I looked over the pantry and the refrigerator before deciding to make everyone a simple breakfast I usually make for my kitchen staff at work: baked eggs with potatoes and onions. Similar to a Spanish Tortilla, and while not very “French-like” (the French never eat eggs for breakfast), none of that mattered. As I was getting the egg dishes in the oven my friends slowly started to wake asking what the good smell was. We made coffee and some tea and in no time the eggs were baked. We sat at the dinning table and indulged in breakfast together before we started our day. The entire experience and time there was effortless. Just the way a vacation should be. I now feel inspired and invigorated, with my mind at ease.
Thank you Julia…you have always been an inspiration.
Baked Eggs with Potatoes and Onions (Feed 4)
Note: I made these in individual baking dishes that were no more than 6 inches round. You can make one large round one in a pie plate or skillet if you do not have the individual dished, but please allow yourself time as a large one take longer to bake through.
3-4 medium red potatoes, evenly sliced into disks
1/2 onion, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, chopped small
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp chopped parsley
extra olive oil for lining baking dishes
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
aioli or mayo, for serving
First, heat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your potatoes on a pot with enough water to cover by an inch or so. Bring the pot to a boil, keeping an eye on it. You are looking for the potatoes to be just tender enough that a knife goes into it smoothly. You do not want them to overcook and become crumbly! Drain the potatoes and let them cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place a sauté pan over medium heat. place the olive oil in the pan. Once it is heated through add your onions and let them simmer, stirring them every so often. Once the onions become limp you can add your garlic. Continue to simmer until the onions are translucent and remove from the heat. Season it all with a bit of sea salt and black pepper.
Then, crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk them gently. Add your milk and beat it all together until it is evenly mixed. Lightly wipe the baking dishes with a bit of olive oil (just enough to coat them). Place your potatoes in an evenly across the bottom of each dish. Top all the potatoes with a scattering of your onion mixture, then repeat it with the remainder of both until your dishes look uniform. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and fill them evenly.
Finally, top each dish with a pat of butter, sprinkle with the parsley, Sprinkle each dish with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Place the dishes in the oven (on a baking sheet in case of spillage). And bake about 15 - 20 minutes before checking on them. You are looking for the egg to be set and not jiggly. Jiggly means your eggs are under cooked. Once the dished are slightly browned and set remove from the oven and serve. While eating, enjoy with a dab of aioli.