There are very few ingredients more versatile than the humble egg. Sunnyside up, scrambled or poached, in quiches, cakes and custards, eggs offer a natural source of protein, vitamins and minerals, making them an essential ingredient in professional kitchens.
Here, Robbie Phillips, who led his trio of City of Glasgow College students to secure the runners-up spot in the 2020 Country Range Student Chef Challenge, shares five “cracking” recipe ideas…
Ouefs en cocotte
This dish is a real classic and an excellent way to celebrate free range eggs. Crack eggs and cream into a buttered ramekin and bake gently in the oven in a bain marie until the whites are just set. Elevate the dish with fines herbes stirred through the cream or add smoked salmon, chopped dill and crème fraîche. Alternatively, it can be layered with sautéed greens, a duxelles of mushroom or even a rich tomato sauce and topped with a crumble of cheese.
Slowly bring 500ml milk to the boil. Separate six eggs and mix the yolks with 150g caster sugar to form a paste. For the crème pâtissière, combine 40g plain flour, 35g cornflour and 50g cocoa powder. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly add to the egg mixture. Cool then pass through a sieve. Next, whip up the egg whites and gradually add 80g caster sugar, a drop of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Beat the crème pâtissière until it’s smooth, then fold in the stiff egg whites. Pour the mixture into six well-buttered ramekins and bake for 12 minutes at 185°C.
Blind bake 400g of sweet pastry (enough for four small tarts) until almost fully baked. Over a bain marie on a low heat, whisk together the juice and zest of four lemons, two eggs, two egg yolks, 75ml double cream and 125g caster sugar until the mixture thickens. Pour the mixture into your cases and bake for seven minutes at 160°C. Set at room temperature and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Whisk together one egg yolk, the zest and juice of one lime and ½ teaspoon of mustard. Add 250ml olive oil in a this continuous stream. Once all the olive oil is added, season with a pinch of salt and taste. Great with fish or as an alternative to sour cream in Mexican dishes.
For an unusual starter, fry a free range egg in nut brown butter and serve with grilled asparagus, Greek labneh, spicy sesame seeds and toasted hazelnuts. In Winter, swap the asparagus for purple sprouting broccoli or even Brussels sprouts!