These are the best-ever en cocotte eggs. Just don't over-cook them.
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 Tbsp butter, plus extra for eggs 1 Tbsp olive oil 120g (4 oz) baby spinach leaves Salt and freshly ground black pepper Freshly grated nutmeg 100g (3-4 oz) ham off the bone, chopped ¼ cup cream ½ cup loosely packed basil leaves 4 medium (size 6) free- range eggs 4 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Preheat oven to 180°C (350°C). Put onion in a medium-sized frying
pan (skillet) with butter and olive oil and cook gently for about 10 minutes until tender and lightly golden. Add spinach and cook until it wilts. Season with ¼ of a teaspoon of salt, black pepper to taste and a good grating of nutmeg. Add chopped ham, cream and basil.
2 Butter 4 ovenproof gratin dishes (or ramekins) and divide spinach and ham mixture among them. Break eggs one at a time into a separate dish and gently transfer into each gratin dish. Grind over a little black pepper and sprinkle with parmesan. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and spoon over top of eggs. Put gratin dishes on a baking sheet to make it easier to move them in and out of the oven.
Cook eggs for about 10 minutes in preheated oven, leaving whites with a little wobble (the eggs will continue to cook as they stand). Let eggs rest for 5 minutes, then serve, or if you like your eggs set, cook them just until they are set in the oven – any more and they will dry out as they stand.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com