Weeknight Cooking

J Guerrero's Family Meal at Prune

September  2, 2009

How the staff eats at restaurants.

J Guerrero, a sous chef at Prune, is somewhat famous for his family meals. Here, he gives us a recipe for a new take on baked eggs that fully embraces the need for a hands-off breakfast dish, although I would argue for serving this dish as a light lunch or dinner. Easily adaptable, this is one to make a standard. -Helen

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Prepping for service means your body is occupied with completing a set list of tasks — rolling out pasta, making an aioli, cooking bacon — but your mind is free to consider what to eat. Family meals are split up among the various services at Prune: the person working lunch makes breakfast, the daytime prep person makes lunch, and the dinner crew makes dinner.

Breakfast is my favorite meal, and I like making this dish -- in which eggs are baked atop layers of ricotta and ham -- because it's easy to put together and goes in the oven for several minutes, giving my body a chance to keep working. Most importantly, it’s forgiving and can easily be made vegetarian for those who choose that…lifestyle.

J Guerrero's Baked Eggs with Ricotta and Onions

Serves 6

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 cups coarse breadcrumbs, big enough that they look like croutons
  • kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 1/2 - 1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • 4-5 slices good quality ham
  • 6 eggs
1. Brush a 9x13 baking pan with olive oil. Heat your oven to 450.
2. Coat the base of a big saute pan with olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and thyme. Toss around a little bit until the onions are coated and turning translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and toast them with the onions for a few more minutes, until they start to turn golden. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool as you prep the next step.
3. In a medium bowl, blend the ricotta with the milk/cream to loosen it up. Add the breadcrumb/onion mixture. Pour half this mixture into the baking pan. Lay the ham  in a single layer over the breadcrumb/cheese mixture, and then top the layer of ham with the rest of the breadcrumb/cheese mixture. Crack your eggs over the top and bake until the whites are done and the yolks are set to your likeness, roughly 30 minutes.
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Helen September 12, 2009
Jenny- the beauty of this recipe (and really, of Family Meal recipes in general) is that the answer is always- whatever you have! That said, fresh ricotta tends to taste a little richer than the supermarket kind, but I happen to know that for meals at Prune, Jay uses thinly sliced deli-style ham.
jenny September 9, 2009
this sounds great! do you use fresh ricotta or is the supermarket kind ok? also, how thick should the ham slices be? thin pieces like from the deli or the thicker kind, like from a baked ham?
Kay September 4, 2009
This regular feature is my favorite. Crisp writing, practical cooking with expert flair. Hooray and thanks, Kay
Helen September 4, 2009
Thanks! I have a lot of fun collecting these recipes, and it's great to hear you have fun reading them!