Our Audubon book suggests that, if at all possible, travelers in Africa make time to watch baby rhinos frolicking.
“Frolicking?” I thought. “Rhinos don’t really do anything interesting. Frolicking seems. . .a bit much.”
But on a recent visit to Khama Rhino Sanctuary we actually saw it. A baby rhino, frolicking. And it was amazing. This little rhino was so small that she didn’t have her horns yet, which usually appear after two months. She was brand new, trotting behind or in front of mama, having the time of her life. Full of spunk, when she got to the waterhole, which was banked in steep and slick mud, she put on quite the show. Sliding down the bank. Splashing in the water. Rolling on her back in the mud. Getting stuck. Slipping back down into the water as she tried to climb out. It was terrific. We decided on the spot that there are few things cuter than little, tiny baby rhinos. They have become the yardstick by which we judge everything now.
So, given the title of this recipe, you can bet that these eggs are pret-ty frick-ing awesome. Adapted from the New York Times, they’ve become a weeknight staple for us. It’s a simple recipe – chopped onions, whole eggs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Somehow all of these ingredients combine in a perfect alchemy of deliciousness.
The onions release a sweetness that balances perfectly with the salt and sharpness of the cheese. The eggs provide excellent protein and bake up beautifully. When you break the yokes – if you don’t over-bake it – the liquid blends all the ingredients together. It is magic. Pair it with some homemade bread and a salad and you have a filling, easy meal. It’s one of the few things in this world that are, in fact, better than a baby rhino.
Better-than-a-Baby-Rhino Bakes Eggs.
Two servings, two eggs each. We often halve the recipe because it’s so rich. Also the measurements are approximate, as Steve throws everything in with his hands. It’s a forgiving recipe so don’t worry too much about precise measurements.
Preheat the oven to 400-450 degrees.
2 onions, choose sweet ones, but not red onions.
4-5 tbs. of butter or olive oil (or half and half of both)
¾ c. bread crumbs
¾ c. of melty cheese (white cheddar, gruyere, edam – anything that melts nicely but isn’t too oily.)
¼ c. parmesan or pecorino cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and slice the onions, cutting them in half and then slicing them again into half-moons. In an oven-proof frying pan, fry the onions in the butter or oil on medium heat until they are soft but not caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In the meantime, shred the cheeses and add them to the breadcrumbs. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
When the onions are done, make little depressions in them with the back of a spoon. (If you don’t have an oven-proof frying pan, transfer the onions to a baking dish). Spread half the cheese mixture over the onions.
Drop the eggs into each depression and then cover with the rest of the cheese mixture.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the eggs are barely set, about 5 minutes.
Change the oven settings to broil and broil for not more than 2 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the eggs!
Take it out and enjoy!