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Sunday, March 09, 2014

You Melt My Heart*

Work's been busy and I haven't been cooking as much as I would like; so last week, I decided to take a breather and just make something semi-fancyish for dinner. Jude and I didn't really do anything special for Valentine's Day and I had won a set of Le Creuset cookware at my office's Dinner and Dance, so I thought, hey, let's make eggs en cocotte (just a spiffied-up name for baked eggs) in a pair of heart-shaped ramekins that were part of the set.

These really are a cinch to make:
1) Generously butter your ramekins like it's your job and turn your broiler to about 400F/ 210C

2) Start with some vegetables-- that night, we used arugula but I can imagine baby spinach, grilled onions, sautéed fennel, roasted sweet potato... virtually anything really

3) Protein-- we used thinly sliced salami but ham, bacon, smoked salmon will all work. If you're going vegetarian, I might suggest some chopped olives, or sun-dried tomatoes, or cubed avocado (if you're going with the avo, you might want to sprinkle a wee bit of salt and pepper, maybe even a squeeze of lemon or lime)

4) A layer of shredded cheese-- because the point isn't to thoroughly cook the contents through, you probably don't want any cheese that won't melt easily (like cubes of cheddar). A soft cheese like goat cheese or bits of brie might be interesting (watch the salt content though...)

5) Two eggs, carefully cracked (you don't want to break the yolks). I don't have to tell you that the fresher your eggs, the better.

6) A splash of cream

7) Top with an obscene amount of good melting cheese (manchego, swiss, gruyere, fontina-- basically, anything you'd use for mac & cheese)

8) Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 6 minutes, by which time the tops will be amazingly gooey but the insides, still soft and luxurious. For an extra indulgence, I drizzled a little truffle oil (great on eggs!) and a dash of herbs de provence.

And voila! Dinner in under 15 minutes :) It's perfect as a brunch thing and an easy weekday dinner. Traditionally served with buttered toast soldiers (again, fancy name for buttered toast sliced into long pieces for easy dipping) but we just had it with some good warm bread and butter on the side, and a large-ish salad.

*the name the little sister would give if the dish were served in her imaginary cafe/bistro/bookshop...

**This dish is decidedly Sophie-unfriendly because of the cream and cheese so the girl had soup, some sweet potato, and shared our bread. She was more than happy :)