Oeufs en cocotte with spinach and Parma ham

Serves 4

I think of this comforting little egg dish as something to be eaten for a light, late-night supper. Its simplicity is appealing: if the spinach is prepared beforehand there is very little to do except crack the eggs.

200g/7oz small, young spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A knob of unsalted butter
8 slices of Parma, San Daniele or Bayonne ham, roughly torn
4 large, fresh, free-range eggs
4 tbsp double cream
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
50g/2oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Rustic bread, to serve

Prepare the spinach in advance (in the afternoon, perhaps). Wash the leaves to remove all traces of dirt and drain well. Place a large, dry pan over a low heat and add the spinach. Cook briefly until the spinach has just wilted – no additional water is needed as the water clinging to the leaves after washing is enough. Drain and set aside until the spinach is cold enough to handle. In batches, squeeze it with your hands to get rid of the excess water and place in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate.

When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Place the blanched spinach in a pan with a knob of butter to warm through. Season with a little more pepper to taste. Divide equally between four ramekins (about 200ml/7fl oz capacity). Arrange the ham on top.

Crack an egg into each ramekin and spoon over the cream. Finish with a sprinkling of nutmeg and Parmesan, and a generous grinding of pepper.

Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin and pour in enough hot water to come two-thirds of the way up the side of the dishes. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for about eight minutes; the white should be set, with the yolk still soft.

Carefully lift the ramekins out of the bain-marie. Serve on small plates, with a folded napkin underneath the ramekins to secure them, and rustic bread alongside.

Very fresh, free-range organic eggs will make all the difference to this dish. As you crack open each one, the white should be viscous and buoyant, and the yolk glossy and a warm yellow colour.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map