simple and delicious, this classic french dish has everything…protein in the form of eggs, vegetables in the form of spinach and asparagus, and then there is the cheese and bacon. mmmmm, cheese and bacon. the prep work for this one is easy, and the only special equipment required is ramekins. this dish would be great for dinner or for brunch. it spends the last few minutes in the oven and then should be eaten immediately…so it’s great for entertaining.
spinach eggs en cocotte with asparagus bundles
- 5 ounces baby spinach, washed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 4-6 eggs
- gruyere cheese, approximately 2 ounces, but it depends on how liberally you like to sprinkle
- 6 tablespoons half and half (or cream, but not milk)
- butter (about 3 tablespoons)
- one bunch asparagus
- 1/2 pound of bacon
preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
in a small pan, heat three tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat and wilt the spinach, working in batches if necessary. remove from heat and set aside.
remove the woody ends from the asparagus (tip: i just snap mine because i don’t care about perfect ends, it will break where the tough meets the soft) and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. cut a slice of bacon in half and place it on your cutting board. then, run your knife along it to flatten it out. wrap two to three (depending on their thickness) pieces of asparagus with a piece of bacon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. continue in this manner until all of the asparagus is bundled in bacon and then pop it into the oven for 7 minutes.
determine if you want 4, 5, or 6 eggs and then oil the ramekins (either spritz with olive oil, non stick spray, or smear with butter). to assemble the eggs: evenly distribute the spinach in the bottoms of the ramekins, gently crack an egg into each ramekin—being careful not to break the yolks. top each eggs with one tablespoon half and half, grated gruyere cheese, and top each with half a tablespoon of butter.
at this point the timer should be going off for the asparagus, pull that out and add the ramekins to the baking dish and pop back in for 10 minutes. the eggs will appear very jiggly when you remove them, but they will continue to cook because the ramekins are hot, so this is ok. if you don’t like your egg yolks to be runny, you can add a few minutes to the cooking time.
we dunk our asparagus into the eggs but i also serve this with toasted bread for dunking. a delicious meal all around.
notes: you can add any flavors to this, and can start with any base. you could also just make the eggs and not the asparagus if you prefer to dip with just toast. if you omit the toast, it’s gluten free!