March 18, 2009

Robuchon’s Eggs

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I found this recipe for baked eggs with mushroom cream in Robuchon’s book, which I have mentioned in previous posts. He calls it oeufs cocotte à la crème de champignons. This particular dish is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is sure to impress guests. What is best about it is the soft texture of the egg and the vibrant colors that come from making the dish correctly. However, the timing can be difficult and it varies based on the size of the eggs, the equipment used, and even the placement of the eggs before baking. The ingredients for the dish are as follows.

2 tablespoons butter
2 minced shallots (I only used one, to place more emphasis on the mushrooms)
1/2 pound mushrooms
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt (I used fleur de sel)
Pepper
Eggs
Minced chives

Shallots are like onions, but much smaller, sweeter, and milder. They are commonly used for sauces because of their mild flavor and ability to blend easily since they are so small. The chives are great for a garnish and their crunchiness creates an interesting balance beside the softness of the egg and smoothness of the sauce. I used generic mushrooms for the sauce which were already sliced to save some time. Also, this recipe makes a lot of sauce, so I had enough to use for a dozen eggs which really helped because I was able to serve all of my friends.

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To start off, chop the shallots, chives, and mushrooms.

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Then, sautee in melted butter until browned, add cream, and top with salt and pepper. Take this mixture and blend in a blender or food processor. Transfer sauce to a pot and keep warm.

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The eggs are a bit more difficult. In the restaurant, Robuchon uses a steam oven where the eggs are cooked for a long time over low heat, but the diah can be made at home as well. For more information about steam ovens, check out this site . Line a pot with parchment paper that has holes poked in it to prevent the water from boiling over.

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Bring the pot of water to a boil then remove from heat. Sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel in a ramekin and place an egg in each ramekin.

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A ramekin is a small porcelain cup commonly used in baking. Moat souffles are served in these. Place each ramekin into the pot of water so that the water goes about halfway to the top of the ramekin. If there is too much water, pour some out until it is at the right level.

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Now that the eggs are in the pot, put the pot into the oven and bake for 8 minutes for large eggs. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the ramekins. The eggs should appear soft and smooth over the top. In addition, the sides should not be burnt.

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Cover each egg with the mushroom cream and garnish with chives.

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If it is cooked correctly, the yolk should still be soft and it will mix with the mushroom cream.

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My favorite part of this dish is the moment the spoon (use a spoon because a fork is just awkward and messy in this case) enters the egg. You realize that the surface is even softer than it looks and the white yields effortlessly to the touch. Once you contact the yolk, it runs all over the cup, which is why it is so necessary to eat this in the ramekin. When the yolk mixes with the cream, the result is purely delicious. Every bite tastes of cream, mushroom, yolk, chives, and fleur de sel. I feel that it is very important to use fleur de sel for this dish because it imparts a flavor to every bite that you just do not find with ordinary iodized, kosher, or even sea salt. The first few eggs I made did not come out perfectly, but by my third batch I figured out the timing and if you follow these instructions exactly, it should turn out well for you too. It is a delicious and beautiful dish and I highly recommend that you try and make it.

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