The chorus of voices lifted in praise of eggs is great; mine is but a small one in a sea of many. As part of a recent effort to increase my whole food and protein intake, while decreasing icky processed carbs and flours and such, I find myself eating eggs far more frequently. Eggs are worthy of the praise lavished upon them: efficiently nourishing, they are probably the best source of affordable, high quality protein out there.
A hardboiled egg is a convenient, nutritious snack, but it can be a little lackluster, so I am forced to expand my skills beyond the ordinary realm of egg dishes like scrambled or fried. Normally I would throw together a quiche, but I am avoiding milk and cheese, and quiche simply sounds less exciting without them.
Saturday I tried my first new egg recipe. Eggs en cocotte are baked in the oven in ramekins, usually with cheese, cream and vegetable or herbal garnishes. I have been wanting to make these cutely contained dishes for some time, but lacked the cookware. Fortunately, my lovely sister sent ramekins to me for my birthday this year, so I am finally equipped.
To conform with my current “regime” excluding cheese, I chose the recipe “Fragrant Eggs en Cocotte” from The Silver Spoon as my first attempt. It is a simple recipe, calling for eggs, butter, salt & pepper, herbs, and tomatoes. I used the puny fruits produced by our tomato plants out front. The recipe calls from fresh basil and dried oregano. All I had on hand was dried basil and it was delicious with just that.
Fragrant Eggs en Cocotte (adapted from The Silver Spoon)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
tomatoes, thinly sliced (enough to layer in ramekins twice)
salt & pepper
dried basil or herb of choice
Directions: Generously butter four oven-safe ramekins. Sprinkle with dried basil. Put a layer of tomato slices in the bottom of each ramekin.
Break an egg into each ramekin, being careful not to break the yolks. Season each with salt and pepper and a dot of butter.
Layer tomatoes on top of each, and sprinkle with basil again.
Place the ramekins in a roasting pan or other deep oven-safe vessel. Fill the pan with boiling water until it is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Place in oven. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until whites are set. Carefully remove pan from oven. Then take ramekins out of pan – avoid splashing!
Get a spoon and dig in.