Baked Eggs and Braised Collards with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Shiitake Cream

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Cara Mangini’s grandfather and great-grandfather were both butchers. She is a butcher of a different sort: a green one. Cara’s first cookbook, The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini, is filled with vibrant, step-by-step images of how to cut vegetables. Mangini not only provides delicious recipes for each season but also shares quick cooking techniques, along with knife maintenance and skills.

Baked Eggs and Braised Collards with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Shiitake Cream
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps finely diced (about ¾ cup diced)
Fine sea salt
¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ small to medium red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch (10 to 12 ounces) collard greens, stems, and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
6 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the mushrooms become golden on the edges and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cream and thyme. Bring the mushrooms and cream to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat. Carefully transfer the mixture to a 1-cup liquid measure or small bowl with a pour spout. Let it stand to steep for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour, then remove the thyme sprig.

3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the collards, a little at a time if needed to fit the pan. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper and cook, turning the collards with tongs, until they just start to wilt, about 1 minute.

4. Add ⅓ cup of water, cover the pan, and cook on medium-low heat until the greens are tender, 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook until any remaining water evaporates. Add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon of butter and cook, turning the collards in the butter until it is well distributed, about 1 minute.

5. Divide the collards evenly among six 6-ounce ramekins. Lift the mushrooms from the cream with a slotted spoon, leaving most of the cream in the bowl, and divide them evenly among the ramekins, spreading them over the collards. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the infused cream into each ramekin. Cut the roasted tomatoes into quarters and place 4 quarters in each ramekin.

6. Crack 1 egg into each ramekin (being careful not to break the yolk) and lightly season each with salt and pepper. Pour another teaspoon of the infused cream over each egg. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking pan and bake, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny, 15 to 20 minutes, or until the whites are just firm and the yolks are almost hard, 20 to 25 minutes. (Keep in mind that the eggs will continue to cook when they come out of the oven.) Serve immediately.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Makes 12 halves
6 Large plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle them with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and then with the sugar. Drizzle them with olive oil, then use your hands to turn them in the oil so that each tomato slice is coated. Turn all of the tomatoes back to cut side up and sprinkle them evenly with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt.

3. Roast the tomatoes until they collapse and shrivel around the edges, 1 ½ to 2 hours. The tomatoes should not be completely dehydrated and flat-some plumpness is ideal.

4. Spoon the balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes as soon as they come out of the oven, turning the tomatoes in the vinegar to distribute it evenly. Separate the tomato halves to cool. If not using right away, refrigerate the tomatoes in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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Text excerpted from The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini © 2016 by Cara Mangini. Reproduced by permission of Workman Publishing. All rights reserved.