Elegance with Eggs

August 13, 2009

Caught up in the buzz of Slow Food and the new move Julie and Julia (which I have not seen) I let my inner grandmother get the better of me. I spent an hour in my kitchen with Julia Child in black and white on my lap top. No wonder she makes it look so easy, did you see how many eggs she can hold in those bigger-than-life hands?!

Here’s my humble attempt at l’oeuf en cocotte:

les oeuvesI cracked four eggs in a baking dish that had about a table spoon of melted butter in it. (Not quite so cocotte, I know, but don’t have any ramekins, like Julia, so I had to use the smallest baking dish I own). I also don’t have a fancy electric stove, like Julia, so for stove-top-to-oven cooking with gas I use a cast iron skillet.

I put the baking container with the eggs in the skillet, which held about an inch of simmering water on the burner. It took my four eggs about 2 minutes to “set.” I wanted to-MAH-toe SAUCE eggs, like one of Julia’s displays, since I had some lovely home made to-MAH-toe SAUCE from the night before. So, I spooned up some of the sauce on the eggs and watched in horror as the thick sauce fell straight through the eggs! Wait, wait! Julia’s stayed on top like a glaze, not a filling! Ahh!

Well, can’t fix that. I stopped at the first spoon full and resigned to return when the eggs had firmed up again. Julia said “cook in the oven for 6 minutes at 375.” I set the timer at four minutes so I could come back to add the sauce, and added the skillet-water-baking dish-egg combo to an oven that at least said it was at 375.

beep, beep, beep, beep!!! Four minutes. Open the oven, pull out the tray, egg soup. Push the tray back, close the oven, set the timer for four more minutes.

Repeat.

Yep, still egg soup. However, after the 3rd visit, and 12 minutes, they were firm enough to add my sauce. Given how the time proportions were shaping up, I figured I’d better add another 4 minutes before removing it.

In the mean time, I sauteed some diced mushrooms in butter with a little diced scallion for a topping. After four minutes, I pulled out the concoction. My baking dish, as you can see, is a deep bowl…so I loosened the edges of the eggs from the side of the dish and sort of leaned the dish over and slid the eggs, which had a layer tomato sauce and thin clear layer of butter on top, into a plate. It broke a bit and I ended up with more or less three little tomato egg mounds.

I spooned the mushrooms over the mounds and added a side of black beans that had been cooking on the stove. Julia Child a la Julieta Nina, all I really needed was a tortilla! The eggs were fabulous! The yolk was soft, but not runny, the whites were like firm heavy cream. The sauce had plenty of flavor, but I think I could have had the eggs plain! Below is a video of the French Chef so you can see how it’s really done. But don’t be afraid to pull together what you have and try this very inexpensive dinner.

As Julia says, bon appetit!

JULIA CHILD, THE FRENCH CHEF, ELEGANCE WITH EGGS (1964):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Les oeufs au champignon Local Tally:l'oeuf au champignon

les oeufs – Wholefoods Oakland, eggs from Petaluma, CA
les champignons – The mushroom man at Grand Lake Farmers Market
beurreClover Butter, purchased from Farmer Joes, a CA Dairy
toMAHto Sauce – Home made, see yesterday’s post
frijoles – dried black beans from Farmer Joes.  Not sure of their origin.  Shame on me.

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One Response to “Elegance with Eggs”

  1. mom said

    I might know why the eggs did not firm up in the oven the first two tries. the bowl was too deep.
    the heat from the oven wasn’t able to waif over the top of the bowl. that’s why ramekins do so well.
    Anyway, I like all the toppings you added but I still don’t think I can yet eat an egg so “yellow”.
    love ya, mom. p.s. ramenkins are in the mail:)

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