Coddled Eggs with Cheese Polenta
One of the first things we did in preparation for making this dish was to discuss the term “coddled”. After discussing its meaning, we decided that the more modern name for these coddled eggs is “Helicoptered Eggs”.
Now, although you will have to treat these eggs with special care to not break the yolks, all of the mini-chefs, even the two-year-olds, were able to break the egg into the ramekin without breaking the yolk. If a little shell drops in, carefully pull it right back out again with your fingers. No biggie.
With the Littles, we made polenta in the rice cooker, something I highly recommend if you have a rice cooker sitting around and would like to break that baby out on a more consistent basis.
The older mini-chefs practiced making polenta the old fashioned way: stir, stir, stir.
Both turned out creamy and delicious. It is worth noting, too, that if you do not like or do not eat dairy, then you can make this dish dairy-free by stirring in olive oil instead of the butter and adding a tablespoon or two of organic virgin coconut oil instead of the cream. The spilled soft egg yolk will make either version luscious to eat and, of course, very rich.
While our eggs were cooking in the afternoon class, the Yummies decided to get to work with some impromptu physical fitness. Jumping jacks, push ups, and sit ups ensued. Well, you do need to be strong to be a coddler!
Coddled Eggs with Cheese Polenta
1 c. dry polenta
2 c. water
1 T. butter
1/4 c. creme fraiche, sour cream, or heavy cream
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. grated Romano or gruyere cheese
a dozen eggs
freshly chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, chervil, etc.) or some extra cheese to top the eggs
1. To make the polenta: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Stir in the polenta, and keep stirring as you add the butter, cream, and cheeses. Stir and stir some more till the polenta is soft and creamy, about 30 minutes. If using a rice cooker instead, place all ingredients into the rice cooker, stir, and cook on the white rice setting. Open up the rice cooker a couple of times to stir the ingredients as the polenta cooks.
2. While the polenta is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Boil a big pot of water in a pan with a pour spout or in a kettle.
3. Scoop the polenta into the bottoms of 12 ramekins. The polenta should come about 1/3-1/2 way up the side. Pat it down a bit to create a bed on which to place the egg. Carefully crack an egg on top of each bed of polenta. Sprinkle with a little more cheese or some herbs if you like. Place each ramekin in a large baking pan (you will need two 9×13 Pyrex type pans). Very slowly, taking care not to get any of the water in the ramekins themselves, pour the water into the baking pans so that it comes up about 1/2 way to the top of the ramekins. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until the white is fully cooked and firm but the yolk is still runny and soft.
4. Using oven mitts to protect your hands, place each ramekin on a plate, let cool a minute or so, and serve. Remind the eater that the ramekin is very hot!!! Enjoy!
Is this a recipe that your ‘littles’ would like to try? Tell us how it came out.
Photo credit: Cate Bruce-Low
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