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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oeufs en Cocotte

Oeufs en Cocotte or, shirred eggs, have been popping up everywhere lately. Named for the dish in which they are cooked, it is essentially individual  portions of baked eggs with butter or cream.  Almost every cookbook has a version of it.  Michael gave me a copy of I Know How To Cook by Ginette Mathiot for our anniversary, the first English edition and adaptation of the "bible of home cooking" that has been in print since 1932. 
 It is loaded with everything I love to cook and eat with 27 pages devoted to egg cookery.  Oeufs Farci Aux Anchois, Oeufs Bruxellois, Oeufs Chimay, and Oeufs Oches Aux Asperges are a few examples of the  27 pages with 58 recipes devoted  to eggs. That quailfies as an  egg extravaganza in my book. The recipe for Eggs in Cocotte falls midway through the cookbook egg celebration.  Aside from quiche or omelettes, most of the egg preparations  are for soft cooked or poached eggs; and  that totally rings my bell. Any opportunity to enjoy  bright soft  runny egg yolks in any form has me from hello.
They were a snap to prepare. I  lightly buttered two ramekins, tumbled in a few slices of chopped Black Forest Ham, carefully cracked two eggs side be side into each ramekin, spooned a tablespoon of heavy cream around the yolks, sprinkled each with fleur de sel, and snipped fresh chives over the top.

I placed the jeweled egg vessels into a two inch high baking pan, carefully poured hot boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins to create a bain-marie for gentle cooking, and slid the pan into a pre-heated 350 oven for 12 minutes.  The goal?  Soft cooked egg whites with warm oozing yolks.
While the cocottes steam braised, I prepped the little toasted soldiers for dipping into the yolks. I sliced thick grainy dense good whole wheat oat topped bread into shards and toasted them until firm, stiff, and crunchy.

When the cocottes were plated, I stabbed each gelatinous chive-studded egg pool with the toast soldiers.  Yolks split , oozed, and coated the crunchy bread.  Ripe for eating. 

A side of butter soaked buttermilk biscuits slathered with Georgia peach perserves  sweetened the deal  while sharp cheddar bacon-studded hashed potatoes provided intense zeal to an otherwise soft and unctous mouthfeel.

A quiet, luxurious, and explosive egg bath for all the senses.
Yep, it was indeed.

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