Baked eggs are a simple, yet elegant dish that’s perfect for a wintry morning like today. Serve with plenty of buttered toast and a cup of café au lait.
Oeufs en cocotte — (Baked eggs with mushrooms, shallots and Cognac)
This version contains duxelles — a pasty mixture of finely chopped mushrooms that have been sauteed with shallots, Cognac and unsalted butter until all of the liquid has reduced. The result is a preparation that can give an intense flavor boost to another dish. Use in terrines, omelettes or atop crostini, or stirred into risotto or rice pilaf.
You can omit the duxelles if you wish. Baked eggs are wonderfully adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. The only limit is your imagination.
For the duxelles:
For the baked eggs:
light cream or half-and-half
kosher salt, to taste
freshly milled black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then keep at a low simmer. This step can be done beforehand, while you’re prepping the vegetables for the duxelles.
3. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms, Cognac, a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Cook over medium to medium-low heat or until the mushrooms have exuded their liquid and re-absorbed it, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. There should be very little to no liquid in the skillet.
5. Check seasoning. Cool thoroughly. Use in another recipe; otherwise duxelles can be kept for one day (covered) in the refrigerator or frozen for up to two months.
6. Butter ramekins. Spoon duxelles into ramekins; 1 tablespoon is plenty. Carefully break an egg over the duxelles. Allow up to two eggs per ramekin.
7. Sprinkle each ramekin with salt and pepper, a scant teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese and a teaspoon of light cream or half-and-half.
8. Place ramekins in a Pyrex baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish; the water should come up halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
9. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until the whites have set and the yolks have begun to harden slightly. Let cool. Top each ramekin with chopped parsley. Serve at once.
Time: 45 minutes, including prep.
* Regular white button mushrooms are good substitutes.
This post also appears on Queer New York.