[Michel Bras Recipe] “Soft boiled eggs Oeufs à la coque”

Here is a simple yet delicious egg recipe inspired by traditional French home cooking, so easy that even children could prepare it on Mother’s Day. It has become a staple amuse of the Bras restaurant with an array of variations, with or without cheese on the finger bread accompanying it.

“The memory of simple pleasures that some might call out of fashion, comes back as if by magic whenever I remember the eggs and cheese of my childhood. It was a moment of pleasure at home whenever my mother would perform the ritual of soft-boiled-eggs. We would sit around the table, in front of the egg cup, excited and impatient. Water was boiling ; we were waiting for the eggs. Toasted bread was ready to receive a drop of Laguiole cheese, kitchen was filled by the aroma of toasted bread and melted cheese. The moment was growing in intensity, our mouths watering…
Maman, radiant with happiness, served the coque-mouilettes (Mouillettes : pieces of bread to dip in the egg) in two steps. First We would open the the eggs with care, take a nibble out of the white with our spoon, just enough to dip a « soldier », as we referred to the mouillettes. After excitement came a sense of contemplation as we made the most of that magic moment. Under the loving gaze of Maman, we could never find the right balance between the soldier and the egg…till the last scrape of the spoon against the bottom of the egg.
I would like to share with you this simple pleasure from home.”
-Michel Bras

Ingredients for 4 servings :
8 extra-fresh large eggs
FOR A SNACK
Walnut bread
Soft cheese such as Roquefort cheese
Thyme flowers
Grapes

FOR A MISE EN BOUCHE
Whole wheat bread
Onion compote
Hard cheese such as Laguiole cheese
Paprika

Preparation
EGGS
A good soft boiled eggshould have a supple white and hot, fluid yoke. Putting the egg in boiling water does not give the best result. My advice is to bring cold or tepid water to a boil with the egg in it. Cooking time depends on the amount of water, number of eggs and time it takes to boil. As an indication, 8 eggs in 1,5 L cold water at medium heat would take about 7 mn, but proceed by trial and error to determine the ideal cooking time.

MOUILLETTES OR BREAD FINGERS
Use good bread cut into about 3/4in. thick. Toast on both sides.

CHEESE
Spread a very thin layer of soft cheese, such as Roquefort on the toast, then put back in the oven for the cheese to melt patially. Cut the toast into « fingers » about 4 x 1/2 in. and serve theme with the eggs.

VARIATIONS :
For a snack :
Soft boiled eggs, bread fingers, soft type cheese like Roquefort.
Prepare bread fingers with walnut bread, Roquefort cheese and thyme flowers. You can garnish the egg opening with thyme flowers and grapes.

For a mise-en-bouche
Soft boiled eggs, bread fingers, hard type cheese like Laguiole.
Prepare bread figers using whole wheat bread, a thin layer of onion compote and a little aged cheese.You can garnish the egg opening with onion rings and paprika.

Other variations :
You can serve the eggs with wild flowers, cumin, black truffles or a shallot puree inside, for example.

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