I have always been amazed by the delectable ways the French have for preparing eggs. Last month, while in Paris, I ordered an oeuf en cocotte au crabe and l'estragon - which translates as an egg baked in a dish with crab and tarragon. After my first bite, I was in heaven.
All I could think of while savoring this creation was that this recipe would be ideal to serve for brunch or for a special breakfast when we have overnight guests. It was simple, yet sophisticated, and didn't take long to assemble or bake.
Betty Rosbottom writes for Tribune Media Services.
BAKED EGGS WITH CREME FRAICHE, TARRAGON AND CRAB
1/2 cup creme fraiche (or 6 tablespoons heavy cream whisked with 2 tablespoons sour cream)
1/2 tablespoon butter for greasing the baking dishes
4 large or extra-large eggs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces (a generous 1/2 cup) fresh crab meat, picked over
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the creme fraiche in a small saucepan and heat over low just to liquify, 1 minute or less. (You do not have to heat the heavy cream/sour cream mixture.) Set aside.
Generously butter 4 creme brulee dishes or 4 small individual gratin dishes, either about 5 inches in diameter. Break an egg into each dish, then place dishes on center rack and bake until white is firm and yolk is thickened (but still runny), 8 to 10 minutes. Start checking eggs at 8 minutes. Watch carefully and when done, remove from the oven.
Season each egg with salt and pepper. Sprinkle some fresh crab in a ring around the yolk of each egg, then spoon 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche (or the heavy cream/sour cream mixture) over the crab. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of tarragon. Serve immediately.
Note: Although the eggs are cooked in this recipe, the yolks are still soft. The young or elderly or those with immune deficiencies might want to avoid eggs with yolks that are slightly undercooked.
Per serving: 213 calories, 13 grams protein, 17 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 305 milligrams cholesterol, 177 milligrams sodium. Recipe analysis provided by registered dietitian Jodie Shield.