The Elk in the Passage, in camden passage, do really tasty eggs en cocotte. alice and i once ploughed our way through a piping hot one there, and i was struck by the dish. i thought i'd recreate it the other night because i had an impromptu dinner with helen and zahra, two of my absolute bestest. we do lady dinners with a little too much wine, really well. en cocotte can be almost anything, that is, any thick sauce, in a ramekin, with an egg pon top. the classic, as we had, is a quite sweet and thick tomato sauce. but i've seen mushroom, ham and cheese, chorizo.. all sorts. i like this dish particularly, because eggs are my favourite. they are just so clever. so perfectly formed. so well packaged. they almost make me believe in god.
for classic eggs en cocotte, fry an onion in some olive oil, and then add a finely cubed courgette and 4 tomatoes chopped into 8 pieces each. when the courgettes are turning transparent and the tomatoes are beginning to break down at the edges, pour in 100ml of passata and simmer on a very low heat until it is a thick sauce. add a teaspoon of sugar, pepper and salt, and even a dash of balsamic vinegar. if you own ramekins (then you are begining to grow up) spoon the sauce into 3, leaving enough room at the top for an egg (about half and inch). if you don't have these, then one nice ceramic dish will do. place in a preheated oven at 180C. when the sauce is hot, crack in the eggs and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the eggs are firm. serve, as we did, with little roasted new potatoes and a big green salad.