Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Oeufs en cocotte (eggs baked in ramekins)

What do you eat when you are home alone? Everyone has some favorite food that the rest of their family can't master any enthusiasm for. Mine is not some obscure organ meat or strange animal -- Jason eats all of those. It's not even beets -- he started eating those about a year ago. It's simply eggs. Poor guy had a bad childhood experience at his friend's house with an egg casserole that scarred him for life. So, no eggs in our house for breakfast -- not sunny side up, not scrambled, not poached, and definitely not in a casserole.

Eggs are not a biggie for me. If he didn't eat fish that would be another story, but I can live without eggs for long periods of time. But if I ever end up working from home, like happened this Monday, I invariably end up making eggs for lunch. I usually go for an omelette or sunny side up, but after reading Clotilde's post on oeufs en cocotte on her fabulous Chocolate and Zucchini blog, I've been dying to try them. Since timing is everything with eggs, I decided to consult Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking for a second opinion. I only had 2 Tbsp of cream left in my fridge so failure was not an option. The whole procedure seemed straight forward enough:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Butter the ramekin.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp of cream and optional flavorings (all I had was cilantro, so that became my flavoring).
  4. Set the ramekin in a pan filled with 3/4 inch of boiling water and wait for cream to warm up. Baking the eggs in a water bath keeps the egg white extremely tender.
  5. Break an egg into the ramekin and set the pan in the oven until the white is just set, but the egg is still jiggly, 7-10 minutes. Mine took 9.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scoop the cloudy white and liquid gold of an egg into your mouth. Moan with pleasure. I served my little treasure of an egg with blanched asparagus drizzled with lemon vinaigrette and parmesan.
This was so awfully good that I might try to make it for Jason this weekend. After 5 years of marriage, I've never attempted to cook eggs for him. Oh sure, I got him to fall in love with asparagus, sushi, and cauliflower, but eggs seemed to be a painful subject I just didn't want to raise. However, something happened last week that gave me hope. I tried making a mushroom leek quiche following Papaya Pâté's instructions for custard and Jason thought it was seriously good and didn't mind the eggs at all. Of course, a cup of cream probably helped, but making sure the eggs were not over beaten or over cooked might have had something to do with it too.

Will Helen risk her marriage for the sake of eggs? Come back on Sunday to find out.

7 comments:

Ivonne said...

Helen,

These look fabulous.

Growing up I was never a huge fan of eggs, but I find that I'm learning to like them.

I really think I would enjoy these and will definitely be giving this recipe a try.

Kalyn said...

I agree, they look just fantastic. I love eggs, but I have a sister who never would eat them from the time she was a tiny little girl.

Pyewacket said...

I love eggs - love 'em fried with greens, love 'em poached, love 'em boiled. Love custard. Love popovers. Love anything egg-y.

But I've never tried them the way you describe.

I think before the weekend is over, I will have.

Helen said...

Hi Pyewacket!

Let me know how they come out. I am making them again tomorrow too :)

Cheers,
-Helen

Sara said...

Those look delicious! I"m going to have to try that.
I also just want to say I'm enjoying your site very much!

Molly said...

Helen, I'm a big fan of the humble egg, and oeufs en cocotte is one of my favorite preparations. If you ever have some leftover smoked salmon lying around, tuck it into the ramekin, and oh, what an oeuf it makes!

Thanks for a lovely post.

Laura said...

I just finished eating my Oeufs en Cocotte and I think the size of the ramekin must make a big difference. The taste was wonderful but I overcooked the eggs just a little as the cream totally covered them and I couldn't determine how done they were.