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Ham and Egg Cups

Inspired by a photo of ham and egg cups on the cover of Gourmet, we invented our own recipe. It's easy, elegant and good.

Per cup:

1 slice of ham (thin enough that it's easy to drape but not so thin that it tears -- eight slices per half-pound works well)

1 tablespoon of shredded cheese, any kind

1 egg

Cut-up herbs to taste (I usually use chives. As for salt, the cheese and ham make it salty enough for our taste, and if the dad in your life likes pepper, go for it.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drape the ham into a nonstick muffin cup, covering the bottom and sides.

If you're looking for a picture-perfect ham and egg cup, keep in mind that draping the ham just right can be a challenge. Cutting off the bottom third (width-wise) makes it easier to shape a circular top; otherwise, you can try to fold the ham in at intervals to make it look more like a flower (as seen on the cover of Gourmet). Frankly, I've never been able to achieve this look. Don't worry if the ham isn't perfectly hole-free and some of the egg leaks through; that's why the muffin tins are nonstick. The ham cups will still look good and taste great.

Once you're satisfied with the shape of the cups, place the grated cheese in the bottom, then crack the egg on top. (If you have young kids working with you and want to ensure a shell-free breakfast, take Ruth's lead and crack the eggs into a separate container first.)

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. The yellow will still be a little runny and the ham will be crispy on the edges.

Let them cool a bit before trying to remove them; run a dull knife around the outside edge as needed.

Transfer to a plate with toast and fruit, place the plate on a tray with coffee and the paper, and promptly deliver to a deserving dad.

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