Sunday, September 16, 2007

A very good Oeuf!

I know, yet another one but Oeuf en cocottes just seem to be my favourite brunch snack at the moment. I like the fact that you can re-purpose various ends of things in the fridge as so far they seem to be the perfect vehicle for cooked, cold slices of new potatoes, crispy bacon, Parma ham, mushrooms, cheese or slithers of smoked salmon. And as you make them up individually you can customise them for your audience. I even persuaded the resolutely egg-dodging LLcT to try one (no mean feat), and ensured that E(D)’s was mushroom free and if I had added a little chopped up steak, it would have been very well done also! We all had bacon and cheese, double cream some had mushrooms and of course, eggs. And I generally like to finish them off with the finest dusting of fresh chives.
MC thought it might have been nice with some cherry tomatoes. Maybe it would have done but strangely enough I don’t seem to have any in my fridge – weird! But I am happy to get them to order in case you think I’m mean, I just need to be forewarned (and then I can clear a little exclusion zone in my fridge!)

I noticed that Nigella in her new book Nigella Express, clearly my current culinary bible, waxes lyrically about these little golden joys also. She suggests artichoke hearts chopped up in the base of the ramekin, truffle oil added to the cream and/or asparagus spears to dunk in the runny yolk.

But sorry Nigella, Simon Hopkinson does one better in his fabulous Week in Week Out he devotes several pages to oeufs en cocottes and firstly insists on forgoing the ramekin in favour of one of those shallow porcelain dishes with ears. He says he can view the egg better as it cooks to his idea of perfection. I wonder what he'd make of Joël Robuchon serving his in Martini glasses?

Simon bakes his with tarragon or spinach or even to a wonderful Elizabeth David recipe which uses fine herbs, a smidgeon of garlic, a smear of Dijon and finely grated Parmesan dusted on the top. But if that isn't already wonderful enough, he also suggests a very decadent version with not only the fresh eggs being snuggled up to a black truffle in a sealed container for a few days to perfume the egg, the egg shell being conveniently porous. He then slips a few slices of the said black truffle into the creamy mixture. Now that really is a good egg!

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