on the menu: eggs en cocotte

On May 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Eggs en cocotte are a surprisingly quick and simple breakfast, all you need is the ambition to pre-heat the oven.

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A cocotte is formally a covered casserole or Dutch oven (any size) but is also often used as a synonym for ramekin. A cover isn’t at all necessary, so any ramekin or oven-proof teacup is fine here, 6-8oz is ideal. Even a muffin pan will work, though I prefer the ease of serving and the uniform heating of either porcelain or ceramic. Great for brunch as you can put them together in an assembly line, and your serving capacity is only limited by the number of cute little oven-safe dishes you have. It’s convenient if they are all more or less the same size, so they will cook uniformly.

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Adorable 8oz mini cocotte from Le Creuset in Caribbean

Add-ons will improve the situation, but eggs, butter and cream alone will do just fine. I like to include any combination of the following: bacon, ham, parsley, cilantro, asiago, gruyere, cheddar, parmesan, chives, scapes, dill, basil, scallions, caramelized onions, sauteed vegetables…anything you would put in an omelet, really.

What you do:

Pre-heat oven to 375°

Heat water in a kettle

Liberally butter (unsalted) the base and sides of cocotte(s), leave a little pat of butter in the bottom.

Layer add-ons into the cocotte as desired. Here I’ve layered scallions, garlic scapes, cooked bacon lardons (+ dash of bacon fat), cheddar, asiago.

Add one or two eggs, depending on the size of your cocotte and hunger levels. Add salt, pepper, and a grating of nutmeg. Pour in a dash (anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp) of cream (cream on the bottom also popular). Add a little more cheese on top (this is non-traditional, but I like a lot of cheese).

Place cocottes in a casserole dish (I add a paper towel to the bottom so they don’t slide around) and pour hot (not quite boiling) water around such that the water level comes half-way up the sides of the cocotte. The water bath/bain marie helps keep the eggs tender and evenly cooked.

Cook 10-15 minutes, depending on your taste and the size of your ramekins. I like to cook for about 10-12 minutes and then broil for 1 to brown that cheese but still have the yolk soft. The broiler business is non-traditional and an easy way to overcook the egg, so be careful with this if you try it.

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Very little trial and error is required to figure out what the best cooking time is for your favorite kind of egg. It’s never too late to add more garnish at the end, either, herbs especially. I’ve been putting garlic scapes on everything to great effect lately.

Don’t forget the coffee.

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on the menu: eggs en cocotte

On September 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Here is another extremely flexible way to prepare eggs. Cocotte means small casserole or baking dish, here a ramekin (both cocotte and ramekin such cute little words). You butter the ramekin, load the base with whatever savory debris you like (fresh herbs, vegetables, bacon), crack an egg in, top with crème fraîche or some substitute (a little cream or yogurt will do), season, and bake (375°) in a water bath.

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You can add the cream element to the base as well as the top, can add cheese (could broil the cheese a bit at the end), can garnish liberally…as with omelettes, add whatever you like and cook the egg to the desired consistency. Not exactly foolproof as you can overcook the egg, but even this is quite edible. A simple formula that yields consistently tasty results.

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Recommended.

omelettes: what you should be doing

On August 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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OK, I love eggs, and I love eggs that have been manipulated into any shape that falls under the umbrella of omelette. This is not about omelette technique (whatever achieves the desired texture and the happiest family of ingredients for you that day, go for that) but about flavor.

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Brussels sprouts, scallions, red onion, camembert, asiago, nutmeg

Whether a creamy French-style omelette, folded, rolled, stuffed, some combination of these, or something in frittatta territory, these principles apply. It doesn’t really matter what the other ingredients are, either. So, next time you are whipping up an omelette, try one or all of the following.

1. fresh herbs – My favorites are parsley, tarragon, chervil, basil, and thyme, but anything you like. Dill and cilantro can also be interesting. This is Thai basil. Any or all. I like to beat them in with the eggs as well as employing as garnish. Fresh over dried: fresh much, much better in this context.

2. pimentón – beat this into the eggs along with your salt and pepper (and herbs). Adds a little smoky kick. You can successfully add this to anything savory, incidentally, and many sweet things, too.

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3. nutmeg – grate fresh (ideally) over as garnish or beat into the eggs. Use in moderation and your omelette will have an added richness without explicitly tasting of nutmeg (though explicit nutmeg can be good, too). Nutmeg is a true friend of eggs, and can be added virtually anywhere they are.

4. truffle salt – an excellent way to add a dark, creamy depth to the whole scenario. I tend to use it as a garnish rather than an internal element. Much preferred to truffle oil, which is all synthetic. I like this one. Also put on fries. Also put on any potato. Also put on pizza.

5. bonus cheese – Whatever cheese you are adding, add another one. It almost doesn’t matter which. In this example I have asiago and camembert. I use whatever I happen to have around. This is an easy way for the flavor to make a big jump in complexity, with the right cheese.

6. Greek yogurt – add a generous spoonful as a garnish. The tartness of the yogurt cuts the richness of the egg while the creaminess compliments and enhances the creaminess of the egg. Highly, highly recommended. As is the case with most ingredients, the better the yogurt, the better the final result. This Tide Mill Creamery yogurt is a wonderful organic one from Maine.

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Good luck.

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on the menu: the perfect soft-boiled egg, ramen-wise

On June 25, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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The physical and chemical properties of eggs are pretty much endlessly interesting to me, and I can eat eggs every day. Was craving ramen after reading this great breakdown of why it is easier to get a great soft-boiled egg (that is also easier to peel) if you start the egg in boiling water. This is a 6 minute egg dropped into a rapid boil, and somewhere between 5 and 6 I find just right for this application.

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Ramen (again) with all the garnishes I can fit, aided by the use of a generous bowl (I love this one from Finnish brand Arabia, ideal for me in curvature, size and weight).

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Bon!

on the menu: bacon, thyme + asiago frittata, home fries with pimentón

On February 24, 2013 by theseventhsphinx
bacon, thyme & asiago frittata, home fries with pimentón

bacon, thyme & asiago frittata, home fries with pimentón

 

Mmmm. Breakfast.

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