New French Word Alert! How fun. Cocotte means a little baking dish in French. But, its secondary definition is “prostitute, sporting girl, promiscuous gal, or harlot.” So to be clear, I’m talking about the little dish. The cooking kind.
And, loathe as I now am to use the phrase “my husband” in the same sentence as “cocotte”, I must say that my husband made curiously passionate noises when I served him this fabulous egg dish for lunch. And, he is on the mark. It is positively wonderful.
This dish comes from the English edition of Homes & Gardens magazine, which is a decadent and wonderful publication. Lucky for me, my mother in law can’t live without it and I am the happy beneficiary of her magazine hand me downs. I have always wanted to cook from the magazine and never remember to tear out the pages, but this month there were two which I simply couldn’t resist. I was thankful that I have an app on my iPad that helps me convert all the grams to ounces and all of the celcius to farenheit. The Smart Chef suite comes in very handy. And, do not attempt this recipe unless you have a new package of English muffins at your disposal.
This egg dish is served undercooked with gorgeous, runny yolks. I’m not sure I would recommend it cooked through, but if you try it let me know. I made three servings, so adjust your amounts accordingly. These are not precise amounts. You can add a little more or a little less of practically everything. Each serving has 2 eggs. The pancetta, much to my delight, crisps up kind of like bacon. This is pancetta…not prosciutto, though I wonder what it would be like with crisped prosciutto. If you are making more than three, just make sure you buy two blocks of spinach and enough eggs…ooh and a little more pancetta…you catch my drift, right?
|Eggs in Cocotte...the good and wholesome kind|| |
- 6 slices pancetta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- butter (a tablespoon for sautéing onions, a pat for the top of each ramekin, and for greasing)
- 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
- salt and pepper
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup cream (about 2 tablespoons per ramekin)
- ¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons per ramekin)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Select 3 small ramekins and butter them thoroughly. Cook the spinach, drain it and blot it with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Chop the onions, grate the cheese, and slice the pancetta into nice ¼ to ½ inch slices.
- In a skillet, fry the pancetta in about a tablespoon of olive oil until crisp. This is a very fast process. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel to drain. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Sauté the onions in the pan until softened. Add the spinach to the pan and break it apart and mix it thoroughly with the onions and cook for another 3 minutes. Season the onions and spinach with salt and pepper. Add the pancetta back to the pan and mix it in with the onions and spinach. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Divide the spinach mixture amongst the ramekins. Press it down a little. Carefully crack two eggs into each ramekin. Season again with salt and pepper. Gently pour about one to two tablespoons of cream on top of the eggs. Divide the parmesan amongst the ramekins, on top of the cream. Place a little pat of butter on the top of the cheese.
- Place the ramekins on a cooking sheet and transfer it to the hot oven. Depending on your yolk preferences and the heat of the oven this will take anywhere between 6 and 11 minutes. I cooked mine for 11 minutes and the yolks were about 75% runny and the whites were still just slightly jiggly. But it was hot, and creamy, and incredible. Carefully move the ramekins to individual plates with a hot pad and serve with hot, buttered English Muffins or toast.
This is one of the best things I’ve made in ages, and it is oh so simple. I found myself wanting to try it with mushrooms, or with a dollop of hollandaise sauce. I will be playing with this idea a lot.
Cooking eggs in the oven is civilized. It allows one to make many servings at once and actually sit down with others for a meal instead of playing short order cook.The ramekin gremlins came to my house and stole all of my matching bakeware, so none of the ones that I prepared were made in the same size or style of dish. It appears I will be running to the Crate and Barrel outlet next week and replenishing my collection. If money were no object, I would buy Apilco every time, but Crate and Barrel outlet seems to always have great white porcelain cooking dishes, and they are a steal.
Just eyeball it and determine if your dish is large enough to hold two eggs and about an inch of spinach mixture. Please try this. If you cannot find pancetta, I believe, hard salami or even smoked deli ham would be an acceptable substitute.