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Cork Lives
Di Curtin’s Spanish Coddled Eggs — the secret to this dish is to get really good eggs
Di Curtin’s Spanish Coddled Eggs — the secret to this dish is to get really good eggs
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Fancy a coddle this weekend? This Spanish dish will hit spot

CODDLE. What a great word! The very sound of it conjures up feelings of cosiness and comfort.

The dictionary definition describes the word ‘coddle’ as treating someone in an indulgent or overprotective way. As a cooking method, coddling involves gentle baking or steaming to protect and preserve taste and texture in the ingredients.

It is mostly used in reference to cooking eggs. Delicate as they are, any harsh cooking can spoil the softness of the whites and the runniness of the golden yolks. Coddled eggs are usually cooked in the oven in a little pot with a lid, so they steam gently. The French like to pour cream over their eggs for cooking in this way.

This rich dish is known as ‘Oeufs en Cocotte’ — which sounds terribly shi-shi for a very simple dish!

This long weekend, when you’ve got time on your hands to enjoy a late breakfast or brunch, my recipe for Spanish Coddled Eggs employs this easy but useful cooking technique, plus spicy flavours of chorizo and tomato as a base for fresh free range eggs.

As the last month of summer kicks in, after the year we’ve had so far, I reckon we all need a little ‘coddle’ this bank holiday!

The secret to this dish is really good eggs. Fresh as you can get them, laid by hens which are outdoors and free to roam. Most supermarkets stock Irish free range eggs. But if you’re in a rural area, you’ll probably have a local free range egg producer nearby. Eggs from smaller producers are the next best thing to having your own hens pecking around in the garden!

In my area of West Cork, Caroline Murphy’s West Cork Free Range Eggs from Rosscarbery are to die for, as are Clonakilty Free Range eggs. Near Kinsale, Beechwood Farm free range eggs from Brian and Siobhan O’Regan are also superb. Available every week in Bandon Farmers Market and local shops in the Kinsale/Bandon area. The English Market in Cork city is also a good source of free range and organic free range eggs from various small producers.

RECIPE FOR SPANISH CODDLED EGGS

Ingredients (serves 4 2 tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed 6 thin slices of chorizo, finely chopped 400g can chopped tomatoes Few fresh basil leaves, torn Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 large fresh free range eggs Grated hard cheese to finish (Parmesan, Manchego or Mature Cheddar) Method Heat oil and fry garlic over low heat till soft but not browned.

Add chorizo and turn up heat slightly. Cook to brown lightly.

Add chopped tomatoes and basil. Season.

Bring to bubbling for a few minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened.

Divide tomato sauce into four small individual serving dishes with lids, or use ramekins which you can cover with foil.

Make a dip in the centre of the sauce in each dish.

Crack eggs into the dips. Season and cover with lids or foil.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, Gas 5 375F 190C for about 10 minutes or until the egg whites are set and the yolks still runny. Finish with a light grating of hard cheese of choice.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping.