Oeufs en cocotte, with their simple elegance, make a for a charming, nourishing breakfast and are well-suited to a variety of accompaniments: fresh herbs, raw milk cheeses, ham or bacon or even my favorite – homemade gravlax. Easily prepared in single-serving portions, oeufs en cocotte are perfect for those cooking for only themselves or for a very small family. On hectic mornings – which, I might add, is nearly every morning – it’s easy to crack an egg into a dish, season it and slide it into a waiting oven. By the time I’ve finished my shower, breakfast is ready. This is fast food – in the true meaning of the words and without the disturbing additives or discomforting ecological, economical and social impacts.
Eggs make for a good breakfast – packed with vitamin A, riboflavin, selenium and other micronutrients in beautiful combination with wholesome fats and protein. Better yet if your egg comes from a hen raised on pasture. Research into the nutritional composition conducted by the Weston A Price Foundation indicates that the yolk of a pasture-raised egg contains 8 times the vitamin A of a conventional, store-bought egg. It’s no wonder. An comparison of the yolks alone yields a remarkable story itself. The yolk of a pasture-raised egg will be a rich orange compared to a conventional egg which is pallid and dull by comparison. Remember, where there’s color and flavor, there’s nutrients.
In this recipe, I combine pasture-raised egg with pecorino romano cheese, unrefined celtic sea salt and home-cured gravlax. The gravlax, with its salty sweetness, adds a lovely richness to the dish and contributes much needed omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA. Gravlax is a raw food – cured at home easily and, in the best tradition of real food, without complication. Wild-caught salmon or other oily fish combines with unrefined sugar, salt, fresh herbs and spices, is weighted down and allowed to cure in the fridge for a few days or up to a week before being served. Wary of cooking’s effect on fragile polyunsaturated fatty acids found in salmon, I prefer to serve my fish raw or cured.
When you’re rushed for time, consider the minimal effort and spectacular nutritional composition of this simple, wholesome dish. It takes only a few minutes, and is well worth it. If you don’t have gravlax on hand – and it’s likely you won’t as it’s not a regular feature in most kitchens – you can substitute purchased lox or smoked salmon, herbs or even ham or bacon.
- 1 Egg from a Pasture-raised Hen
- 1 tbsp Raw Milk Artisan Cheese, (Grated)
- 1 ounce Lox, Smoked Salmon or Home-cured Gravlax, (Chopped Fine)
- 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Herbs , (Parsley and Chives work well for me)
- Unrefined Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, (to Taste)
- ½ tsp Butter from Grass-fed Cows
- Butter a small 4-oz ramekin.
- Crack the egg and pour the contents into the buttered ramekin. Take care not to break the yolk.
- Add the lox to the dish.
- Sprinkle the cheese, herbs, salt and pepper to the egg.
- Bake in a water bath at 350 º F until egg white is set, but the yolk is still runny or done to your liking. Baking takes approximately 12 – 15 minutes – just enough time for a nice long shower.