Baked Eggs for a Crowd
The French long ago mastered eggs en cocotte —slightly coddled eggs baked at high heat with butter and cream, which thicken to a gravy as it cooks. There’s no finer way to enjoy an egg. To pull this off for a crowd, a large casserole dish coated with butter and partly filled with heavy cream acts as a bath in which to gently cook the eggs. To dress them up, add smoked salmon, a handful of kale or spinach leaves, thinly sliced ham, halved cherry tomatoes or sliced, cooked mushrooms to the mix before you crack in the eggs. Really anything goes here, but keep the accoutrements light and let the eggs take center stage. Finish with flaky sea salt (those large crystals melt on your tongue in just the right way) and any fresh herb you love.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 2tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 ½cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- 12to 16 eggs (depending on your crowd)
- ½teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓cup chopped mixed herbs, such as mint, parsley, dill, basil and chives
- 16pieces of toast or 8 English muffins, halved and toasted
Step 1Heat oven to 500 degrees. Butter a shallow 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish (square or round). Pour cream in the prepared pan and sprinkle the cubed butter over the top. Add any cooked meat or vegetables, if using. Crack the eggs around the pan and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Step 2Bake until the whites are set and the yolks are still a bit runny, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with herbs and more flaky salt, and serve immediately, piping hot, with toasted bread or English muffins and shallow bowls. Drizzle the cream over the top.