The French may be annoyingly provincial (to be polite) about food, but I must say, they’re damn good with eggs. Short of personally laying one, French folks can do virtually everything with an egg: hollandaise, béarnaise, béchamel, omelets, soufflés, crepes, custards, crème anglaise, and so on.
Given that eggs are extremely difficult to get right, it’s an impressive legacy, much of which gets lost over here, where generally we throw them into a hot pan or a pot of boiling water. If you’re looking to expand your repertoire, Michel Roux’s book Eggs is useful to have around; each chapter begins with a master recipe for that section (pasta/soufflés/etc.), followed by several simple yet pleasing dishes.
We chose eggs en cocotte because of our love for a runny egg, and if you don’t overcook it, a baked egg is the best of all runny egg preparations: unctuous and slightly runny, heightened with a little cream and an assortment of flavorings. The white, usually an unfortunate, tough flap, virtually dissolves in this rich bath.
We tweaked the recipe a bit, chopping up a few medium shrimp instead of using the 48 tiny sweet shrimp called for. I’m grateful for French egg cookery, but making me bust my butt looking for teeny tiny shrimp? That’s cocky.
Baked Eggs w/ Shrimp and Capers (adapted from Eggs, by Michel Roux)
8 medium shrimp, chopped in ¼ inch pieces, tail blanched and reserved
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 325
- Brush 4 ramekins (about 3 inches high and 1 inch deep) with butter on bottoms and sides. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully tip an egg into each mold, drizzle cream over the egg whites, then scatter the shrimp and capers over the yolks. Bake about 10 minutes and serve garnished with a tail.