julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

Elegance With Eggs

 

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“Once an egg is taken out of the breakfast category and put to use as a hot entree…it offers a great variety of presentations. Unfortunately, wine and eggs have no great sympathy for each other.” – Julia Child

I got home a little later than planned last night, and Ben was pretty busy wrapping up some online projects, so a quick and easy dinner was definitely the way to go. There’s nothing much more easy than egg recipes (at least, in MtAoFC), so I decided to give Julia’s Oeufs en Cocotte (eggs baked in ramekins) a try.

It just so happened that I actually own four little pyrex ramekin dishes, which I bought at the grocery store on a whim one day years ago when I wanted something to serve pudding in…because apparently bowls just wouldn’t do. (Of course, over the years they’ve served several purposes, the most of recent of which is to hold a random collection of foreign coins and small pebbles from our miscellaneous travels. In fact, I can’t quite remember the last time I actually used them to serve pudding…considering we usually just eat the pudding straight from the bowl in which it was mixed. Am I divulging too much information? I think so.) Moral of the story: buy some ramekin dishes. Their uses are endless! 

*ahem* Moving on.

Cream is spooned into the dishes just before they go into the pan of simmering water.

The idea behind this recipe is to heat eggs in ramekins in a pan of simmering water, which will cook the insides, then they go into the oven to cook the outsides. The end result is an “eggs over easy” sort of dish, only much more elegant because – you guessed it! – it’s served in ramekins. Clever! This recipe has about four steps, and takes about 15 minutes total. Don’t believe me? Check it out! 

Bring a pan of water (not too full…just about ¾”) to a simmer and butter your ramekin dishes. Add a tablespoon of cream to the bottom of each little dish, and set it (carefully!) into the simmering water. Don’t be alarmed when the bubbles in the water start making your ramekins rattle around like there’s no tomorrow…your kitchen isn’t possessed by a poltergeist. It’s just science at work. If it makes you nervous (like it did for me), then feel free to turn the heat down a little – but don’t lose the simmer, because that’s the key to cooking the inside of the dish. 

Don’t be alarmed by the foggy water…some of the cream splashed into the pan when I dropped in the eggs.

Once the cream inside the ramekins is hot, break one or two eggs into the little dishes (I used two each). Top each dish with another tablespoon of cream and a dot of butter. Set the whole pan into the oven at 375 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes. Just enough time to fry up some bacon and make some toast…how convenient!

You’ll know the eggs are ready when they’re just set but still have a little jiggle to them – kind of like my bottom. But that’s another post for another day. It was at this point that I started to doubt Julia – after 10 minutes, the eggs still seemed awfully undercooked, and while she says to remove them then because they’ll continue cooking even after the pan comes out of the oven, if there’s one thing I can’t stomach, it’s the thought of eating raw eggs. So I let it cook a little longer, all the while wishing Julia had included a few photographs alongside the recipes every now and then. A visual aid can do wonders for a girl’s confidence in the kitchen.

I mean, really...who can tell if these are done?

When I finally removed the pan from the oven, I was still a little leery, but was also ready to move on with my night. Using a dish towel, I carefully took each ramekin from the pan, dried the bottom, and set it on a plate with some turkey bacon and toast. I dusted the eggs with a little salt and pepper, and braced myself for what I anticipated to be an undercooked, mostly-raw egg.

 In the end, I should have just trusted Julia – the liquid I was seeing was actually the cream and butter on the surface of the perfectly cooked eggs. When I dipped my fork into the dish, I was surprised to see that the egg whites were set, and the yolks were solid yet runny when I cut into them – as I said, much like eggs over easy. I highly recommend serving with toast to sop up the runny egg yolks that mixed with the butter and cream to make a tasty yet unobtrusive sauce.  

Trust in Julia - she won't steer you wrong!

I couldn’t get over how wonderfully simple yet delicious this meal was. It didn’t make a bad light dinner, but I could really see it showcased on a breakfast buffet or a ladies’ brunch. And the best part? It was done in 15 minutes! You can’t beat that. Who says you’re too busy for a good meal? Give this one a try – I’ll definitely make it again. 

Happy cooking!
– Jessica

 Today’s French Lesson:
Petit dejeuner pour diner? Oui, s’il vous plait!

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One Response to “Elegance With Eggs”

  1. Lakshmi Bhatia says:

    Thanks Jessica !! Desperately in need for some inspiration…hopefully will get there in small bite sized pieces :)

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