I am always grateful for friends who pander to my love for food and cooking. I remember there was one Christmas where I received 1 bottle of Italian olive oil, 3 bottles of flavoured French olive oil, and 1 bottle of Israeli olive oil. I’m not sure why these friends felt that I was desperately in need of olive oil but I was certainly good in terms of supply for the whole year. This week a good friend had come back from Bangkok and dropped off some duck eggs for me. For some reason, fresh duck eggs are not available in Singapore, and I spent a good while admiring how pretty the shells looked as there were 3 distinct colours for the eggs.
Some may wonder why I am getting excited over fresh duck eggs. Salted duck eggs are aplenty in Singapore and indeed I do have a bunch on hand to try out a recipe for salted egg squid, but there is a certain novelty to duck eggs that ought to be showcased. I was a little torn between making duck eggs Benedict or duck eggs en cocotte but I felt a little too lazy to make the hollandaise sauce.
So this morning I woke up with a happy eggy project in mind but as I checked my emails I discovered to my annoyance that FedEx had denied my claim for refund of shipping even though their customer service officer had admitted their fault in the shipment delay that resulted in the perishables turning mouldy (what do you expect when a 2 day shipment takes 10 days to arrive???)
Needless to say my annoyance level was ticking over – I almost had a kick the dog moment there; luckily I don’t have a dog. But I also had a pull back moment when the thought came about why I should get so upset. I think it was a reminder that it is all about posture and perspective and that I don’t have to get all riled up because I have God who looks after all my needs, and even if I don’t get the refund that He looks after my finances, my worries and my life. He is probably more interested in my posture and reaction when things go wrong than making sure that I don’t encounter problems in my life. Anyway this reminder helped, if not I would be growling at hubs or chewing out the kids (kid #1 seems to be flunking out again…)
So at least my morning teetered on to a happier start – it was surprisingly cool this morning, probably because of gathering rain clouds, and it was the ideal setting for a baked egg breakfast.
Eggs En Cocotte is a truly simple dish that I thought would showcase the richer and slightly gamey flavoured duck eggs. I happened to have mentaiko roe in the fridge, which is a marinated cod or pollack roe usually featured in Japanese cuisine. I thought that the salty spiciness of the mentaiko along with freshly grated Parmesan cheese would perfectly pair this baked egg dish. And it did. This is eggy umami-ness at its best.
Top left going clockwise: fill base of ramekin with cream and tiny dollops of mentaiko and shavings of cheese; top with egg; bake to perfection and top with a little fresh mentaiko and chives to serve.
Mentaiko Duck Eggs En Cocotte
- 1 duck egg (or chicken egg; this recipe can be multiplied to the number of servings you want)
- 1 1/2 tbsp cream
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp Mentaiko roe
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Chopped chives (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Put ramekin into a baking tray.
- Pour the cream into the base of the ramekin.
- Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Carefully drop tiny clumps of mentaiko roe on the cream, making sure the clumps are well distributed. You will need about 1 tsp of mentaiko for this. Reserve 1/2 tsp for topping later.
- Grate about 1/2 tsp of Parmesan cheese on top of the cream and mentaiko
- Break the egg and gently slide it on top of the cream, mentaiko and cheese layer.
- Grate a few shavings of Parmesan cheese over the top of the egg, and another tiny bit of salt and pepper.
- Pour hot water into the baking tray till the water level comes halfway up the sides of the ramekin.
- Put the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes (to get the egg to slightly soft on the inside consistency)
- Remove ramekin from oven and the water bath. Top with 1/2 tsp mentaiko, some chopped chives, and serve hot.