As anyone who has watched the award-winning PBS (in America) television show Downton Abbey is fully aware, lavish dinners are just a part of the daily lives of the family and friends of the abbey. Aside from some rather lavish entree's and desserts, the majority of the six or seven courses of each dinner were the side-dishes. This is one of those famed side-dishes and the method of cooking "au gratin" was brought to England from the French and, at the time, was pretty much reserved only for those considered aristocrats.
This is a very simple dish and the secret for a perfect au gratin of this ilk, is the layering of the ingredients. The original version of this dish features quail eggs. Since it is not common to find quail eggs at your local market, I have adapted this dish so regular chicken eggs can be used.
For more on the food of Downton Abbey, visit the free Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey!
Ingredients needed to make Edwardian Au Gratin (serves 2):
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 2 cups julienned or shredded Brussels sprouts
- 2 scallions, minced
- 1 Tbs. cream
- 1 cup julienned (cut in thin strips) smoked ham
- 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the Brussels sprouts and scallion and saute 3 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and cook 1 minute.
- Spoon the mixture into an au gratin pan (or an oven-proof au gratin dish).
- Layer the ham atop the Brussels sprouts.
- Layer the cheese atop the smoked ham.
- Carefully break the eggs over the cheese.
- Place into the oven and bake 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve.
The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.