Ham and cheese cloud eggs

Doesn't the word "brunch" just make you happy? Images of friends laughing and toasting with mimosas comes to mind. A good brunch can cure anything — a hangover, a breakup, even a seriously dark mood. It's hard to stay sad when fresh eggs and bloody mary's are making their way to your table.

Maybe that is why I'm so enthusiastic about eggs. I love them every which way, and when I learned of a new way to prepare them, I had to jump in. Cloud eggs refer to egg whites that have been cooked separately from the yolks. You can add any fillings you like, then add the yolk in the middle of the nest. It's like a delicious fried egg with omelet ingredients stuffed inside. And let's be honest. I would do just about anything for that perfect runny yolk.

Gather your ingredients

Start by gathering your ingredients. This is the easy part, since cloud eggs are so simple to prepare. You will need four large eggs, a thick slice of deli ham, and shredded cheddar cheese. We'll also be seasoning the eggs with kosher salt, black pepper, and dried onion. 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone mat. 

A full list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions can be found at the end of this article.

Separate the egg yolks

Place two medium bowls side by side and crack the first egg over one of the bowls. Allow the egg white to run out into the bowl, then carefully slip the egg yolk into the second bowl. Repeat this process with all four eggs. 

Don't rush this process. The yolks can easily break, which will ruin your perfect cloud egg look. 

Season the egg whites

Once you have your bowl of egg whites, season them with kosher salt, black pepper, and dried onion. 

You could also add some minced garlic if you love that flavor or chili powder for a little kick. 

Beat the egg whites

Now comes the big job. We are going to beat the egg whites until they are thick, which means you'll be beating them for quite some time. I chose to whisk them by hand, because I am a masochist, but there is absolutely no shame in pulling out your hand mixer for this one.

If you choose to use your hand mixer, pour the egg whites into a larger bowl to keep them from splashing out while mixing. 

Allow to rest

Continue to beat the egg whites until they are thick and frothy. They should start to become thickened and form stiff peaks against the bowl. It's important to keep going until you achieve the right consistency. This will prevent them from running all over the pan when it's time to cook.

Once you have achieved the desired consistency, allow the egg whites to rest for a minute.

Fold in the ingredients

Chop your thick slice of deli ham into small pieces and place it in the whisked egg white mixture. Add the half-cup of shredded cheddar cheese and gently fold the ingredients into the egg whites. The egg whites could lose some of their volume if you mix them too vigorously, so just fold in the ham and cheese.

Bake the eggs

Separate the egg white mixture into four mounds and place on your prepared baking sheet. Make sure to allow enough space around each egg white mound to prevent the egg whites from running together. Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook until the egg whites are slightly golden, about four minutes.

Once the eggs whites are set, remove the pan from the oven, and while the mounds are still hot, press the back of a spoon into the center. This will create a nest look and a perfect resting spot for our egg yolks. Carefully spoon one egg yolk into each nest and gently place the pan back into the oven. 

Cook until the egg yolks begin to set, but are still runny, about three minutes. Allow your cloud eggs to rest for a minute, then serve. These are fantastic on their own or served on a slice of toast or plateful of hash browns. Happy brunching!

Directions

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 7 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried onion

  • 1 thick slice deli ham

  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Chop the ham into small pieces.

  2. Place two medium bowls side by side. Crack the first egg and allow the egg white to fall into the first bowl. Then gently place the yolk in the second bowl. Repeat with the next three eggs.

  3. Season the eggs with salt, pepper, and dried onion. Using a whisk, beat the egg whites until they start to develop peaks. This will take a few minutes, so feel free to use a hand mixer.

  4. Once the egg whites are standing up, gently fold in the ham and shredded cheese. Divide the egg mixture by four and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make sure to separate the four mounds of eggs whites so they do not run together. Place in the oven and cook until slightly golden brown, about four minutes.

  5. Remove the pan from the oven and gently press the back of a spoon into the center of each egg white mound. Then spoon an egg yolk into each indent. Return the pan to the oven and bake for about three minutes, until the egg yolk is slightly runny.