"Ask Aida" -- About Eggs!

Aida Mollenkamp has been answering questions via video and advice column on CNET'S Chow.com since 2005. She addresses it all, from concerns about food poisoning, to how to make a great vinaigrette.

And, starting Saturday, she's going to have her own show on the Food Network, called "Ask Aida," in which she'll respond to questions as she prepares dishes and gives recipes.

Mollenkamp visited The Early Show Wednesday and made a tasty gourmet egg dish while answering two common questions about eggs: What are the differences between white and brown eggs, and what's the proper way to crack eggs?

The answers: No real difference between white and brown eggs, except the brown ones tend to cost more! As for cracking -- the key is to crack them on a flat surface, eliminating concerns about egg shells getting into the mix.

To see some previews of "Ask Aida," click here.

RECIPES

Baked Eggs with Canadian Bacon, Spinach, and Aged Cheddar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to butter ramekins
2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces baby spinach
4 slices Canadian bacon
4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ounce grated aged Cheddar, plus extra for serving
Sourdough bread

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and arrange rack in middle. Butter 4 (6-ounce) ramekins and set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it foams, add onion, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until spinach is well wilted, about 2 minutes.

Place ham on bottom of ramekins and top with spinach. Crack eggs into ramekins, place 1 tablespoon cream over each egg, and divide half of cheese evenly among ramekins.

Put ramekins on a baking sheet and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread remaining 2 tablespoons butter on 4 slices sourdough bread. Top with grated cheese and toast until golden brown. Serve eggs with toast.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

FOR MORE MOLLENKAMP EGG RECIPES, GO TO PAGE 2.

Huevos Rancheros with Tomatillo Salsa

For the salsa:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered or 2 (12-ounce) cans tomatillos, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 medium jalapeno chile, stemmed, halved, seeded, and finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, halved
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the eggs:
8 large eggs
2 to 3 teaspoons white vinegar

For the tortillas:
8 corn tortillas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled (can substitute feta)
Sour cream and sliced avocado, optional

For the salsa: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add tomatillos, onions, jalapeno, and garlic, and cook until tomatillos and onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender, add cilantro, vinegar, and salt, and puree until sauce is smooth. (Yields about 2 cups salsa.)

For the eggs: Bring at least 3 inches of water to a simmer in a medium pot and stir in vinegar. Break each egg into a separate small cup. Fill a large bowl with warm water and set aside. Gently slide eggs into the simmering water, 1 at a time. Cook until whites are just set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Lift eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon. Place in a bowl of warm water to keep warm while finishing the dish.

For the tortillas: Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. When oil is ready, add tortillas 1 at a time and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt.

To serve: For each serving, place down 2 corn tortillas, place 2 eggs on top, drizzle with salsa, and sprinkle with cheese. If desired, top with a dollop of sour cream and slices of avocado. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Eggs Florentinesque

TIME/SERVINGS

Makes 6 servings

Swapping the hollandaise sauce for a sour cream mixture and cooking the eggs in spinach makes for an easier, updated take on the classic.

What to buy: Crème fraîche is a naturally thickened fresh cream with a tangy flavor and a rich texture; it doesn't curdle or separate when heated. If you can't find it, sour cream is a decent substitute.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 pounds spinach (about 2 medium bunches), washed and thoroughly dried
6 large eggs
4 ounces crème fraîche or sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Toast, for serving

Melt butter in a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Once butter foams, add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add spinach, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Make six indentations in spinach, crack an egg into each, cover the pan, and cook eggs to desired doneness. Meanwhile, combine crème fraîche or sour cream, lemon juice, and cayenne in a small bowl.

To serve, divide spinach and eggs among 6 pieces of toast, place a dollop of cream mixture over each egg, and season with freshly ground black pepper.

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