Oeufs en Cocotte – Baked Eggs (from The Little Paris Kitchen, Khoo 2012)

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all I eat is the holy triumvirate of Cs: cake, chocolate and cheese.  Well you’d be 98.4% right.  But for the remaining 1.6% of the time, I eat things like eggs.

I think we all need to take a moment just to appreciate the humble egg.  Boiled, poached, baked, fried, scrambled, raw, omelette, meringue, cake and cream.  Have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, dessert or any time in between.  Stiffly-whipped whites to unctious binding yolks.  There are few things as uplifting as drawing a toast soldier from a boiled egg, soaked in delicious sunshine, or as thrilling as piercing a yolk and watching the yellow ooze over your Eggs Benedict.  That really sets my heart a-flutter.  And to top it off, that bright sunny yolk triggers an optimistic and happy response in our brains.  I give you eggs, ladies and gentlemen.  Eggs.

I feel like I’m introducing the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars.  Be warned though: top science boffins have discovered that the way you eat your eggs reveals more about you than you might be willing to show.  I am apparently socially outgoing and an energetic extravert, who likes “decorative” clothing and “lively” music.  Those boffins really know their onions, or eggs in this instance.

Back to the food: this dish truly reflects all the elements of a French classic; uncomplicated, just a few ingredients treated with respect and turned into something magical.  The gentle sourness of the crème fraîche is perfectly balanced by the warm sweetness of the nutmeg and the fresh high notes of the dill.  And oh! the wonderful egg, so light and fluffy and joyful.  It makes a sophisticated and deliciously simple breakfast, starter or supper, especially served with freshly home-baked bread.

Oeufs cocotte 3

Eggs. Brilliant.

So take this moment to make a promise to yourself not to take eggs for granted any longer; appreciate everything you can do with them, and everything they can do for you.  Thank you eggs.

Need this (for 2)

75g crème fraîche / pinch x2 ground nutmeg / salt & pepper / small handful chopped dill / 2 eggs

Do this

oven 180C / crème fraîche + pinch nutmeg + pinch salt & pepper / dollop tbsp of mixture in each ramekin / sprinkle dill / break egg (keeping yolk whole) into ramekins / dollop rest of mixture / pinches nutmeg + salt + pepper / ramekins in roasting tray / water into tray half way up ramekins / oven 15 mins until egg set how you like