Oeufs en Cocotte
An elegant French breakfast dish translated as “Egg in a Casserole Dish”. Each egg is baked in its own ramekin or small gratin dish, making it perfect for serving 1 and perfect for serving a larger crowd.
This forgotten dish needs to be rediscovered. We’ve done everything to our eggs: fried them; stirred them up into a scramble; flipped them into an omelet; dropped them into water, with and without their shell. We hard boil them, soft boil them. We twirl them in the water, all in the name of poaching. It’s time to let them show off their beauty surrounded by ingredients that absorb the flavor of the creamy yoke and satiny egg white.
Now, all this beauty must come at a cost of money, time and healthiness. That’s not the case. I highly recommend using a farm fresh egg. Though it does cost more, remember we’re talking about the cost of an egg. It still comes out pretty economical (around 20 cents versus 50 cents per egg). As far as time, you can make it as simple as you want or you can add a few more steps based on the ingredients you choose. When it comes to healthy, as much as I love eggs, a lot of egg based meals are just too heavy to have on a regular basis. Some recipes do include cream and cheese, but it’s minimal compared to other egg dishes. Think of it like the perfect poached egg. You can keep it simple or you can turn it into Eggs Benedict, both of which are very good.
I’m starting by sharing the traditional recipe for Oeufs en Cocotte. With this recipe the eggs are baked in individual dishes in a water bath whereas, Shirred Eggs, are baked in the oven without a water bath. The theory is that the eggs baked in a water bath cook more evenly, being controlled by the temperature and moistness of the water. Baked eggs are exposed to the dry heat and if overcooked may become rubbery. I prepared my eggs both ways. Dealing with very hot water needs caution when putting in and pulling out of the oven. The dry method produces nice results (as long as you keep an eye on the eggs) and works better if preparing numerous servings. I would love to tell you it takes exactly this amount of time to create a soft, medium or firmer yolk, but I can’t because every oven is a little different. I do give estimate times to help guide you.
The world of baked (shirred) eggs awaits. The variations are endless! I am also sharing some of the fun I had creating my own Oeufs en Cocotte.