Oeufs en cocotte
with leeks, spinach, smoked salmon, and cumin
I have yet to tell you about my fascination with eggs. It’s about the fond memory I have of collecting them at my grandmother’s. It’s about their beautiful natural shape, so simple andelegant, and so inspiring to style and photograph. And then there are the countless ways to cook them. One example is
oeufs en cocotte
(French for “baked eggs”). Eating this dish is a show initself: You can dip a
(the French word for “soldier,” as in “a thin stick of bread”) inthe yellow of the runny egg yolk and watch the bread absorb it like a sponge, before popping the bread into your mouth. Then start all over again; it’s exciting every time. These
oeufs en cocotte
offer delicate flavors of leek, smoked salmon, spices, cream, and butter that smell like a lazy brunch on a Sunday, though they are also perfect served as an appetizer. If you don’t like a runnyegg yolk, keep in mind that you can always adjust the cooking time to prepare the eggs the wayyou like.
4You will need: four 8-ozramekins2 tablespoons (30 g; 1 oz) unsalted butter 2 small young leeks, whites andgreens, cleaned and thinly sliceddiagonally1 large shallot, finely chopped
cup (60 ml) dry white wine or white vermouth4
oz (125 g, or 5 packed cups)fresh baby spinach
teaspoon ground cuminSea salt and pepper 2 large slices smoked salmon, minced4 extra-fresh large eggs6 tablespoons heavy creamFreshly grated nutmeg1 tablespoon chopped chivesSalmon roe, to serve (optional)Preheat the oven to 400oF (200oC). Butter four 8-oz ramekins; set aside.In a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks andshallot and cook on low to medium heat without browning, stirring, for about 7 minutes, untilsoft. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed; set aside.