Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte and Cheddar Leek Crisp with Petite Ham Steak and Serrano Potato Medley

     Modern Free Standing Cocotte! 
     The original Oeufs Cocotte was eggs or an egg mixture that was placed in a ceramic ramekin, the baked in a bain marie or steamed.  Oeufs Cocotte was served, by simply placing the ceramic ramekin of eggs on a doily lined plate.  Basically, Oeufs Coquette was an alternative gentle way of preparing Shirred Eggs, but Shirred Eggs are whole eggs baked in a small casserole dish.  Oeufs Coquette differs from Shirred Eggs, because Oeufs Cocotte can be made with either whole eggs or a complex whisked egg mixture.  Some of the classic Oeufs Cocotte whisked eggs mixtures were quite fancy, so Ouefs Cocotte was always looked upon as being more elegants than Shirred Eggs.
     During the last decade, a few kitchen equipment innovations have enabled chefs to modernize and redefine classic French egg recipes.  Non-Stick Silicone Baking Molds have changed the rules as to how Oeufs Cocotte can be prepared and presented.  Instead of serving the Oeufs Cocotte in the ceramic ramekin that it was cooked in, when using a non-stick silicone baking mold the Oeufs Cocotte can be popped out of the silicone baking mold after they finish cooking.  Because of the nature of silicone baking molds, baking the Oeufs Cocotte in a bain marie is not always necessary, so one step can be eliminated in the classic recipe.  The best part of using a silicone baking mold to make Oeufs Cocotte is the plated presentation.  The eggs or whisked egg mixture can easily be popped out of the non-stick silicon baking mold and the Ouefs Cocotte can be plated as a free standing presentation, with no ceramic baking mold to clutter the plate.
      Adding integral garnishes to a free standing Oeufs Cocotte increases the eye appeal.  A thin pastry crisp garnish or cheese crisp garnish increases the height of the Oeufs Cocotte presentation in an extravagant way.  A leafy herb sprig combined with a complimentary sauce is another way to garnish a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte entrée.  A free standing Oeufs Cocotte can even be topped with a gourmet cheese and passed under a salamander (broiler) till the cheese softens and melts.  As one can see, modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte has opened the door for new presentation ideas.
     When plating a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte entrée, it is best to design the plate presentation with a sense of order.  Arranging petite accompaniments, like potatoes, roasted tomato, sausage or ham on the plate should be done with uniformity and clean open space in mind.  Using a ring mold to confine and shape loose accompaniments will achieve a clean looking plate that does not look cluttered.
     Making a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte entrée with a silicone baking mold may initially seem intimidating on a first attempt, but the entire procedure actually is fairly easy to do.  When I first saw a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte at a high end buffet in Las Vegas, it only took a few minutes to figure out how the entrée was actually made, because the pastry chef was using silicone pans at a 5 Diamond resort in Florida that worked in way back in 2001.  I figured that the 36 individual cup silicone muffin molds were the only way that a modern Oeufs Cocotte could be prepared mass production style for an elegant Las Vegas buffet.
     When I back got home in Chicago, I purchased silicone baking molds and figured out the rest.  I actually made a perfect modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte on the first attempt.  I even anticipated a trick involved in the process when using a fancy whisked eggs mixture that prevents the solid ingredients from sinking to the bottom of the silicone egg mold.  The trick is to cook one half of the egg mixture till it is scrambled very loose, then recombine the extra soft scrambled eggs with the other half of the raw whisked egg mixture.  This step keeps the solid ingredients in suspension, so the solid ingredients are evenly distributed in the free standing Oeufs Cocotte.  To ensure that the whisked eggs do not oxidize to a gray tint, a small amount of lemon juice must be added.  

     Cheddar Leek Crisp:
     This recipe yields 1 cheese crisp garnish.
     The cheese crisp is delicate, so it must be handled very gently!  It is best to make the cheese crisp ahead of time, then set the pan where it will not be damaged.  
     Because cheddar is an oily cheese, the thin grated cheddar must be dusted with a small amount of flour, so it becomes crisp instead of flexible.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 10 thin julienne sliced leek threads.  (Thin julienne = 1/6" x 4")
     Gently sauté till the leek threads start to become tender become tender and flexible.
     Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place an 8" x 8" square sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan.
     Lightly brush the parchment paper with melted unsalted butter.
     Arrange the soft leek threads on the center of the paper, so they are scattered over a 4" to 5" area.
     Step 3:  Place 3 tablespoons of very thin grated cheddar cheese in a small mixing bowl.
     Add about 1/2 teaspoon of flour.
     Toss the flour and cheese together, till the thin grated cheddar is lightly dusted.
     Pick up the dusted cheese and leave any excess flour in the bowl.
     Step 4:  Sprinkle a thin layer of the flour dusted grated cheddar cheese over the leek threads that cover a 4" to 5" area.
     *The layer of cheese should be a maximum of 1/8" thick.  Leave a few small open spaces between the pieces of cheese to create a lacy effect when it is baked.
     Step 5:  Place the pan into the 325ºF oven.
     Roast the leek thread and cheddar crisp, till it is no longer moist and it becomes a crispy golden brown.
     *Keep an eye on the cheese crisp, because once it turns crisp it will start to burn if it is roasted for a few minutes too much!
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Use a thin metal spatula to gently loosen and scrape the cheese crisp free from the parchment paper, while the cheese crisp is hot and it is still slightly flexible.
     Leave the loosened cheese crisp on the pan.
     Set the cheese crisp pan aside where it will not be damaged.
     *As the cheese crisp cools it will become a brittle texture, so handle the cheese crisp carefully later in the recipe!     
     Serrano Potato Medley:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of large diced (parmentier) peeled russet potato in a small sauce pot.
     Add a 2 1/2 to 3 ounce whole unpeeled purple potato.
     Cover the potatoes with water.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Boil till the potatoes are halfway cooked.  (blanched)
     Step 2:  Drain the water off of the potatoes.
     Cool the potatoes under cold running water.
     Peel the blanched purple potato with the back of a paring knife.
     Large dice the purple potato.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the large diced purple and russet potatoes.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Gently sauté till the potatoes are tender and golden highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Korean style Red Serrano Chili Pepper Paste.  (sambal)
     Add 1 teaspoon of water.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the Serrano Potato Medley warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Petite Ham Steak and Roasted Shallot:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Use a 3" ring mold as a guide to cut a round ham steak that is about 1/2" thick.  (A 2 1/2 to 3 ounce portion.)
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Place the ham steak in the pan.
     Place 1 peeled small whole shallot in the pan.
     Gently sauté till a few golden highlights appear on the ham.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast till the ham steak is hot and shallot becomes tender.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Keep the petite ham steak and roasted shallot warm on a stove top.

     Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     "Modern Baked Eggs" is another name for the free standing Oeufs Coquette style.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Whisk the egg mixture till it is blended.
     Step 2:  Heat a small non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely diced tomato.
     Add 1/2 of the whisked egg mixture.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Briefly scramble the ingredients till the eggs are cooked loose and runny.
     *The eggs should only be partially cooked.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Return the partially cooked egg mixture portion to uncooked raw egg mixture portion in the mixing bowl.
     Stir the two egg mixtures together.  
     Step 4:  Lightly brush a non-stick silicone custard cup baking mold with melted butter.
     Pour the egg mixture into the silicone baking mold.
     Place the baking mold on a small roasting pan.  (pie tin)
     Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan.
     Place a piece of parchment paper that is lightly brushed with unsalted butter over the eggs in the custard cup.
     Step 5:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are fully cooked and they feel firm to the touch.  (About 9 to 12 minutes.  A probe thermometer should read 145ºF to 148ºF.)
     Remove the pan from the oven.

     Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte and Cheddar Leek Crisp with Petite Ham Steak and Serrano Potato Medley:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Remove the protective parchment paper from the Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte silicone custard cup mold.
     Invert the eggs and silicone mold together as one, onto the center of a plate.
     Remove the silicone baking mold.
     Step 2:  Use a 3" ring mold as a guide to place the Serrano Potato Medley on the plate next to the eggs.
     Step 3:  Place the petite ham steak next to the eggs.
     Place the roasted shallot on top of the ham steak.
     Step 4:  Cut a 3/4" deep slit into the top center of the baked eggs.
     Gently part the top of the eggs open just wide enough to vertically insert the Cheddar Leek Crisp.
     Step 5:  Place 2 small Italian Parsley sprigs on top of the eggs.

     Viola!  A nice looking modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte breakfast!                              

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