Friday, November 1

Baked Duck Egg 'Florentine', Focaccia Soldiers

I've done baked eggs before on this blog but they are worth mentioning again in a different guise. So easy to make, relatively frugal and a practical starter for larger dinner parties - they can be made up in advance and only take ten minutes to cook.  Other variants include tarragon mushrooms, salami, gorgonzola and walnut.......

The key technique to take away is the infusing of the cream with aromatics. This elevates the dish from eggs baked in cream to something with a greater depth of flavour.  For four

Double Cream - 200ml
Rosemary - 1 large sprig
Thyme - 1 large sprig
1 small onion - peeled and sliced
Garlic - 1 clove, peeled and bashed
4 large quality duck eggs
1 small bag of baby spinach
Parmesan - 75g - grated
Nutmeg for grating
Salt and Pepper

First infuse the cream by gently warming with the herbs, garlic and onion. You don't want to boil the cream, just bring it up until it is steaming then take it off the heat and leave for half an hour to infuse. Strain making sure you squeeze all the cream from the aromatics. Wash and wilt the spinach in a dry pan, refresh in cold water then squeeze dry.

Heat your oven to 210c. In four ramekins (I used terracotta tapas dishes) divide the spinach making a little well in the centre to hold the egg. Season the spinach now with a little pepper, salt and nutmeg. Crack an egg into each ramekin. Pour over the cream, sprinkle with parmesan and grate a little more nutmeg. Season gently then bake until the cream is bubbling, the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny. You will need to keep checking from the 8 minute mark - 1 minutes over cooking will mean the difference between a gloriously runny yolk and depressing solidity. Serve immediately with focaccia toasts drizzled with good olive oil and cut into soldiers.

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