I was first introduced to oeufs en cocotte while living in Europe. It is a classic breakfast dish from the French region of Switzerland and is so easy to make yet so delicious. Eggs in ramekins would be the literal translation, and they are really just steamed eggs with (usually) cream and a few other ingredients. The variations can be as endless as your imagination. You can add spinach with some grated Parmesan cheese and a dash of nutmeg, smoked salmon with capers and topped with horseradish cream, or fines herbes such as chives, parsley, tarragon and chervil. I once added enoki mushrooms sauteed with shallots and it added a nice subtle flavor.
Although you can cook these on the stove or in the oven, I prefer on the stove as its much quicker than waiting for the oven to preheat. Either way, the trick is not to cook them to long. They are best enjoyed runny and with toast for dipping into the creamy mixture. For a nice video on how to prepare oeufs en cocotte, there is no better teacher to watch than Jacques Pepin, a Maître d’Ouefs.
Oeufs en Cocette (Eggs in a Pot)
- 1 + 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. tarragon, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
- four eggs
- Lightly grease 4 ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.
- Saute minced shallots with 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat just until softened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper and herbs, and cook for 3 minutes more.
- Fill a large pan with about 1 inch of water and over medium heat, cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low.
- Divide the cream mixture evenly among 4 ramekins, and add grated cheese. Then break one egg into each ramekin and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place ramekins in the pan and cover. Cook over low heat for about 6 minutes until whites are firm and the yolks still liquid.
- Serve with toasted baguette or buttered toast and a spoon.