Eggs in Cocotte

I've often thought about going vegan but I could never eliminate eggs from my diet. Anyone who knows me knows my love for eggs (read this awesome article by NPR to know I'm not the only one) I will eat eggs in pretty much any form and on top of anything. Have you had a burger with an egg on it?! What about a bowl of chili? I can't eat basic ramen without a fried egg. Eggs just add a wonderful texture and protein to your meals. I swoon over a runny yolk but I can also appreciate them scrambled or souffled--and let's not even get started on the magical properties of eggs in baked goods. 
The more adventurous I've gotten with food, the more I've discovered about ways to eat eggs. I typically eat them lightly fried with a runny yolk, but of late I've been experimenting with poaching them or having them 'en cocotte', a la Francais.

I first tried eggs in cocotte during brunch at Brasserie. A piping hot cast-iron skilled arrived at my table filled with bacon and creamy spinach topped with fresh eggs and served with crisp smashed potatoes. (Click here for Brasserie's recipe.)
Versatility is eggs en cocotte’s greatest strength. For my home version, I added smoked salmon, broccolini and creme fraiche – all because they were at hand in my refrigerator. It's a great way to use up whatever you have, frozen or not.

For perfect baked eggs, pull the dish from the oven just before the whites are set. They will continue cooking a few minutes after removing from the oven. This dish makes a wonderful brunch addition or a decadent weekday breakfast all for yourself. 

Eggs en Cocotte
6 servings

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch broccolini, woody ends removed
½ cup chopped mixed mushrooms
12 oz. smoked salmon
6 Tbsp. creme fraiche, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 eggs
Handful chopped green onions
Coat 6 ramekins with nonstick spray and place in a large deep baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat and saute the broccolini and mushrooms about 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Set aside.
Evenly divide the smoked salmon and place the slices in the bottom of the ramekins, then top each with ½ tablespoon creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper.
Evenly divide the broccolini and mushroom mixture among the ramekins, then top each with 2 eggs and ½ tablespoon creme fraiche.
Fill the baking dish with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully slide the baking dish into the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the egg whites are almost cooked through.
Garnish with chopped green onions and let cool slightly before serving.
Serve with toast to dip into the yolk!


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