Boston Globe, March 7, 2007
When Sandra Silva, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has a crowd for brunch at her home, she serves a dish she calls Café Brasil or Brazilian breakfast. Instead of laboriously making eggs individually, like a home-based short-order cook, she has perfected a dish that can be prepared all at once for four, slipped into the oven, and then served piping hot. And there’s drama from egg whites whipped into a meringue and then lightly toasted. Ordinary Sunday brunch becomes a fiesta.
First Silva slices French bread, then it is toasted and lightly buttered. A slice of cheese just covers the bread. The eggs are separated, and the whites are quickly whipped into a meringue and mounded onto the toast. The yolk stays protected in its half shell. With the back of a spoon, Silva hollows out a little indentation in the meringue and carefully sets the yolk into its airy cradle. Then she lines four, or even a dozen, onto a baking sheet and bakes until the meringue is light brown, about 12 minutes, before placing the hot breakfast on individual plates. Serve with morsels of crispy bacon. As your guests slide their forks into the yolk, it bursts into yellow rays — just like the morning sunshine.—
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 -inch thick slices of French bread, toasted
Butter (for toast)
4 slices of cheese (cheddar or Muenster )
8 slices of bacon
Salt and pepper
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees . Have on hand a large mixing bowl. Carefully break an egg in half and tip egg white into the mixing bowl. Keep the yolk in its half shell, propped against a cutting board, until ready to use. Repeat with remaining eggs.
2. Spread butter onto warm toast. Place toast on a baking sheet.
3. Place one slice of cheese on each piece of toast.
4. With a n electric hand beater or wire whisk, whip the egg whites into peaks.
5. With a spoon or rubber spatula scoop out one quarter of the meringue and mound it on top of the cheese. Spread the meringue all around to cover the surface of the cheese, keeping a slightly higher mound in the middle.
6. With the back of a spoon, make an indentation into the center of the meringue just deep enough to hold the yolk.
7. Slip an egg yolk into each “cradle.”
8. Place the baking sheet into the oven for 12 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned and the egg has set. Cooking time also depends on how loose or firm you like your eggs.
9. While the eggs are baking, place bacon slices into a skillet and fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and cut into small squares.
10. To serve: divide the bacon among the 4 plates. Set a baked meringue toast on each plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and garnish with a few cherry tomatoes.
Adapted from Sandra Silva