[The following story could traumatize small children as well as certain adults. Your discretion is adviced.]
Once upon a time there was a little egg who lived on a farm upstate New York. The little egg looked just like any other egg on this farm but he was different in the fact he had big ambitions: the little egg wanted to move to the big city to be cooked by the legendary Zenchef. Hours after hours after coming into this world the little egg kept doing his affirmations and sure enough the moment came the farmer picked him up and placed him in a 6 eggs cardboard box. The little egg was on its way to the big city.
As chance would have it, Zenchef picked that box of eggs at the farmer’s market that morning and brought it to his kitchen with the perfect plan: Oeuf en cocotte for breakfast. This wasn’t any Oeuf en cocotte Zen had in mind. There would be a bed of baby spinach, roasted maitake mushrooms and marinated sundried tomatoes on which the egg would gently poach and a Parmesan cream drizzled on top. Zen delicately picked up the faithful little egg and…
Oh well… Nevermind! The story is over. Geez.. this is a bit embarrassing. Have you ever felt like you were born with two left hands?… I have!
Another espresso please!!
Anyway, this is a fabulous way to cook your egg in the morning. A tasty twist on oeuf en cocotte, the classic French egg cooked in a ramequin. Are you ready to start?
First, sautee some Maitake mushrooms in olive oil (or any mushrooms of your choice). When they start to caramelize on the edges, add some chopped garlic and parsley. Sautee until fragrant, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add some butter to the same pan and when it turns brown, add a few handful of baby spinach. Cook until wilted and season with a little salt. Set the spinach aside.
Butter some large ramequins or empty jam jars and place the sauteed baby spinach, the maitake mushrooms and some marinated sundried tomatoes or oven dried tomatoes on the bottom. Preheat the oven to 300’F.
Crack a fresh egg on top making sure not to break the yolk. If you have two left hands like i do, buy extra eggs. Doesn’t this make you happy?
Place a lid on top of the jars or ramequins and put in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Timing can vary depending on your oven so keep an eye on it. Not a good time to go back to bed!
While the eggs are cooking, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan in a small saucepan and turn on the heat. When the parmesan starts to melt add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and bring to a boil. Emulsify the mixture using a stick blender (or a regular blender), adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and keep warm.
The eggs are ready when the white on the top is barely set. At this point, you might have an irresistible envy to poke the yolk. Do yourself a favor. Don’t do it!! Adjust the cooking time to your liking.
As you can see from the side, the sauteed spinach, the maitake mushrooms and the sundried tomatoes cohabit happily with the gently poached egg whites. There’s nothing wrong with that. Of course you could easily add a few slices of rendered smoked bacon to the spinach mixture to bring it to another dimension… just an idea.
Drizzle the parmesan cream around the egg yolk, sprinkle with some fleur de sel and cracked black pepper. Some chopped chives to finish it off… Et voila! This innocent looking dish is an orgy of flavors my friends. Eat at your own risk and be good to your eggs.
Monday, October 6th, 2008