These are shirred eggs, or oeufs en cocotte as they are known in France. It’s a fancy name for something truly simple. Shirred eggs are really just baked (or coddled) eggs typically with the addition of cream, fresh herbs, and a little cheese, although the permutations are endless. This simple, elegant way of cooking an egg is so easy, you may never fry another egg again. Traditionally baked in a wide flat-bottomed dish, small 4-ounce ramekins do the trick just as well. For my shirred eggs I skipped the more traditional herbs and placed some chopped balanced spinach underneath the egg for some added flavor and texture. This can easily be omitted or replaced with other vegetables of your choice.
There are lots of theories on how to make the perfect shirred eggs. Baked directly on an oven rack as they are in this recipe or partially immersed in a pan of water (called a bain-marie, also known as a water bath) as is the case with the French version oeufs en cocotte. Shirred eggs also can be broiled for an even quicker cooking time and a firmer yolk. Whatever method you go with, remember the ramekins or cooking vessel will stay hot and continue to cook the eggs for few minutes once they’re removed from the oven top be watchful not to overcook the eggs.
This recipe can also be easily doubled for a two egg per serving dish, but keep in mind that will increase the cooking time slightly. Both shirred eggs and egg-in-a-hole which I’ve blogged about before are great simple egg and toast recipes that can jazz breakfast up a bit on the weekend without getting to labor intensive.
Shirred Eggs With Spinach
- 1/4 cup blanched spinach, squeezed and roughly chopped, divided
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- 2 tablespoons shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
- salt and black pepper
- micro chives for garnish (optional)
- 2 pieces of whole grain toast (optional)
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil two (4-inch) ramekins and set aside.
- Step 2 Place some spinach ion the bottom of each ramekin. Next crack an egg onto the spinach being careful not to break the yoke. Top each egg with 1 tablespoon of cream. Sprinkle with cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 3 Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes (8 for a more runny yolk, 10 for a firmer yolk). Remove from the oven and serve immediately topped with micro chives and buttered toast.