Have you met Lidia, Lidia the tattooed lady?
The leftover sausage and spinach gnocchi filling has been sitting in the fridge since Thursday night, and it hasn’t been waiting patiently. HEY YOU, it’s been yelling. YOU WITH THE COOKIE CRUMBS ON YOUR SHIRT. EAT ME. I assume it will only become more abusive as time goes on, so I had no choice but to use it in some eggs en cocotte this morning. Eggs en cocotte are also called shirred eggs, or, as they are now known around here, “the best fucking eggs in the whole entire world” or “crack in a cup.”
On rare occasions, putting a bunch of tasty things together in one dish manages to completely flop. Other times, it leads to something good, but not transcendent. And sometimes, it creates a dish where the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts, and you want to make a giant vat of the dish and roll around in it for the rest of eternity while a children’s gospel choir sings and unicorns shoot magical rainbows out of their magical asses.
Today’s ingredients by themselves put us on the path to success: Eggs? Check! Heavy cream? Check! Spinach? Check! Sausage? Double A+ check! Best fucking butter ever? Check!
Put them all together? Kill me now! All other breakfast egg dishes are dead to me.
This was my first eggs en cocotte, and it will not be the last. You’ll have to pardon the beige-ness of the finished dish; it’s time for a major grocery trip around here. I had no fresh herbs to accent with, and I wasn’t about to sprinkle the top with tropical flavor jujyfruits just to add color.
The spinach/sausage stuffing provided a little heat and bite to cut through the creamy richness of the eggs. The cream brought the stuffing and egg together into a harmonious, unctuous whole and kept the dish from being simply eggs sitting on spinach. A pat of the best fucking butter ever dotted on top added a hint of salt, a hint of the nutty grassiness that we know and love, and a hint of sin. A bite with a bit of all the elements was a perfect blend of gooey, creamy, warm and chewy – everything you want in a breakfast on a cold rainy morning. You can sub in almost anything you want for the stuffing I used, so it’s a great way to use up leftovers.
If you don’t make these eggs, you’ll be sorry. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
Psychotically Good Eggs en Cocotte
1/2 c. leftover spinach and sausage filling*
4 fresh eggs
3 tbsp. heavy cream
2 dabs butter, plus an extra dab
Pre-heat your oven to 375.
Butter 2 oven-safe ramekins. Put 1/4 cup of filling in the bottom of each ramekin. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream over each, and crack 2 eggs into each, being careful not to break the yolks. Top each with a dab of butter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the whites are mostly set and the yolks are still a bit runny (you can adjust this according to however you like your eggs – more/less well-done). Serve immediately. It would not be remiss to top with a bit of grated cheese.
* The ramekins can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance and baked off when you’re ready to eat. You can substitute whatever you’d like for the sausage filling – other leftover meats of veggies, fresh veggies, etc.