Essentially, it is a perfectly poached egg.
Oh 63°C egg! If you haven’t heard of this sous-vide cooking strategy, here is a relatively simple explanation. It’s an egg, cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, than that of a typical boiled egg. The eggwhite and the yolk “set” at different temperatures, and by slowly warming and cooking the egg to 63°C, the yolk should be completely liquid and perfectly viscous. Because the whites set at a higher temperature, some recommend cooling the egg, then parboiling it quickly just to set the white before serving. Essentially, it is a perfectly poached egg.
I did a lot of poking around the internets about how to go about making 63°C eggs. This graph about cooking temperatures and times for desired yolk consistency from this website was THE most helpful. If you are interested in experimenting too, it is a very through examination of the pursuit for perfect egg yolks.
My beautiful two eggs, may one of you succeed. One will go for 45 minutes, another, 75 minutes.
Parsley puree (recipe follows)
75 minute egg. Okay, I should preface that I have no immersion circulator machine to properly cook my eggs. Instead, I had my candy thermometer in a pot that I stirred regularly while monitoring the temperature. For whatever reason that I like to call human error, the yolk set more than I wanted it too. It was still pretty thick and liquidy, but the edges of it was very firm. You can see how perky this yolk is because of that. It wasn’t the thermometer because it has worked when I work with sugar. It might be that because I didn’t stir all 75 minutes, the eggs got extra warm when they touched the metal bottom of the pot, while the thermometer tip was in the middle of the water.
Regardless, the mushroom cream (… so. good.) and sautéed mushrooms gently atop the egg.
It was really good. Worth staring at a pot for over an hour, stirring, while contemplating the happenings within the non-disclosing white shells.
After another dozen eggs of experimenting with different temperatures and times with my manual sous-vide strategy (turns out, about 30 minutes!), I put together a final version, à la Chef Robouchon, below!!
Robouchon’s recipe, along with an picture of a version of the original.
Eggs Cocotte with Mushrooms and Parsley
from Joël Robouchon
6 ounces flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1/2 pound white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 pound small chanterelles or other wild mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 large eggs
In a medium saucepan of boiling water, blanch the parsley leaves until tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the parsley to a food processor and puree. Scrape the puree into a bowl. Clean out the food processor.
Add the white mushrooms to the food processor and pulse to mince. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the minced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the water and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the cream, cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain the mushroom cream through a fine strainer into a small saucepan, pressing on the solids. Simmer the cream over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderately high heat until softened, 2 minutes. Add the chanterelles, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes.
Set a round rack in a large, wide pot. Add enough water to reach just under the rack without touching it. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Butter four 1 1/4-cup heatproof porcelain bowls, about 4 1/2 inches wide at the top tapering down to 2 inches wide at the bottom. Alternatively, use ramekins. Spoon the parsley puree into the bowls. Crack 1 egg into one of the porcelain bowls; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Cover each bowl with plastic wrap. Carefully set on the rack in the pot, cover and steam over low heat until the whites are firm and the yolks are runny, about 12 minutes. Discard the plastic wrap.
Reheat the mushroom cream and chanterelles. Spoon the cream over the eggs, top with the chanterelles and serve.