This month marks the ninth anniversary of City Forager, the small catering company I started while attending culinary school in Manhattan. From the beginning, I’ve kept a journal containing menus, noteworthy wines, memorable cheeses and menus for each season. The most important section of my journal, however, has turned out to be a list of recipes that always make a huge impression on clients despite their ease of preparation. In fact, many of the recipes I’ve featured in Island Bites are from this list. Sure, a three-tiered amaretto cake with lemon merengue frosting and tropical flowers gets a big gasp. But so do eggs and bacon en cocotte, which require only a few basic supermarket ingredients.
Eggs and bacon en cocotte is a simple egg preparation that’s done in a ramekin and placed in a saucepan with simmering water, or “bain marie.” The technique, which I picked up from a Jacques Pépin cookbook, is simple and allows for countless variations once you’ve mastered it. Eggs en cocotte with cheese, vegetables, smoked salmon and more are all possibilities. Try serving them for breakfast instead of scrambled or fried eggs. It also makes an excellent lunch or dinner when served with a mixed green salad.
Eggs and Bacon en Cocotte
(Adapted from “La Methode”
by Jacques Pépin)
4 small ramekins
(each with about a 3-inch diameter)
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped chives or any fresh herb
2 slices bacon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium to low heat until crispy. Place on a paper towel and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring a 3/4-inch of water to a simmer. Grease the inside of each ramekin with the butter. Over a bowl, coat the inside of each ramekin with the chopped chives, shaking out any excess. Crack two eggs into each ramekin, adding a pinch of the salt and pepper afterwards. Place into the simmering water bath (water should come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins). Cover and cook for about 12 minutes, until contents are firm but still wiggle slightly when moved. Remove with tongs and insert a half-slice of bacon in each ramekin. Serve with toast.
Chef’s note: Eggs should be at room temperature before cooking.