These are the perfect little side dish for Easter Brunch: Tender-but-crispy potato nests with a luscious baked egg in the middle. They go perfectly with ham for a more substantial brunch, or they’re great for a casual breakfast with a piece of bacon. Or two. Or three. Or nineteen.
I will say, when I first decided to try these out, I was excited. I’d seen different iterations of the little cutie-pies and I figured they’d be a piece of cake to whip up. But in fact, I had to go through quite a bit of trial and error before I cracked the dang code. And by the time I figured it all out, I think I’d shaved a good seven months off of my life expectancy.
I started off trying frozen hash brown potatoes, which I initially assumed would work fine. But they wound up being way, way too dry: During the initial baking of the nest, they shriveled to almost nothing, and after the egg baked inside the nests, the hash browns turned a very strange consistency—and there was hardly any potato flavor at all. Super dry, super weird.
Frozen Hash Browns = A no-go for this recipe. Like, totally.
After giving up on the frozen potatoes, I wound up fiddling with fresh potatoes in a couple of different ways: First I tried grating them from a raw state, which didn’t work at all. Too mushy. Didn’t crisp up. Produced angst. Made me crazy.
Finally, the best result came from grating almost-fully-baked potatoes: The consistency was perfect and the potato flavor was fabulous.
Then I slept for a month because I was so exhausted.
It would be a long, long time before I’d be able to trust again.
Here’s how to make them! Start by baking a few potatoes. I scrubbed the potatoes, then baked them until they were not quite tender enough to eat: Soft, but with the tiniest bit of bite left. This will make them easier to grate, and will also allow more room for baking later.
Sorry I called you Maynard.
Next, season the potatoes generously with salt and pepper: Just toss them around with your hands as you sprinkle.
You can see how much the potatoes shrink up!
* Note: Be assured that no matter what, all of your eggs will probably bake a little differently and won’t all look exactly the same on top. Some whites will look perfect, some might look a little funky. Some whites will cover the yolk, some will gloriously reveal the yolk.
But that’s the beauty of these things! They’re rustic.
These are great with Easter Ham (I’ll post the recipe here next)! If you feel like you need a little practice before Sunday, you can pare down the amounts and do a practice run with one potato and two or three eggs. The instructions are the same whether you make a big batch or a small one.
These are totally delicious. My family loves them. My brother-in-law Tim likes to douse them with hot sauce. (I have to admit, I do too.)