Coddled egg ivanhoe

Coddled egg ivanhoe

By
From
The Sunday Night Book
Serves
1
Photographer
Patricia Niven

We ate a lot of coddled eggs on Sunday nights in my childhood, I think maybe because they’re such an easy thing to do and yet so deeply comforting to eat. Egg coddlers have a delightful air of nostalgia about them: one I remember fondly was a small china pot with a metal lid that had been my father’s since his childhood, so the sentimentality appealed to me, plus it was very pretty! These days they can still be hunted down, but if you have no luck a ramekin or small jam jar makes a good stand-in, especially if it has a lid (or a covering of foil will also work). The coddled egg is aided and abetted by a steamy environment, resulting in a texture similar to that of a poached egg, with a set white and runny yolk, in contrast to the firmer texture of baked eggs.

‘Ivanhoe’ is a garnish I came across in Robin McDouall’s wonderful Clubland Cooking. It involves cream and smoked haddock, which I cook as instructed by Polly Russell, my dearest friend and co-conspirator on The Kitchen Revolution. Any other smoked fish would work here: my favourite is super-decadent smoked eel, which needs a touch less butter, and probably horseradish in place of the mustard.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
75g smoked haddock or other smoked fish
20ml double cream
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
20g butter, melted
1 large egg, a duck egg would be splendid
sea salt
black pepper
1 thick slice toast of your choice, to serve

Method

  1. Start by cooking the smoked haddock. (If using another smoked fish, it may not need cooking – in which case, you can just flake the flesh and skip ahead to the next step.) Put the fish in a shallow heatproof dish with a lid, season with a little salt and a generous grinding of pepper and cover with freshly boiled water. Put the lid on the dish and leave to stand: by the time the fish is cool enough to handle, it will be cooked. Flake the fish, removing any skin and bones. (The fish-cooking liquor has excellent flavour and is worth keeping for anything you might need fish stock for – just bring it to the boil before chilling and then freezing in ice-cube trays, ready to be dropped into fish soups, etc.)
  2. Meanwhile, mix the cream, mustard and parsley together. Grease the egg coddler, jar or ramekin well with melted butter, then stir the rest of the butter into the parsley and cream mixture, together with the flaked smoked fish. Put two thirds of the fish mixture in the coddler, crack an egg on top and lightly scatter the rest of the fish mixture on top, being careful not to to break the yolk. Put the lid on the coddler or cover the ramekin tightly with foil; if using a jam jar, screw the lid on, but don’t tighten it too much.
  3. Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to a gentle simmer, then carefully lower the coddler into the pan – the water should come about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the coddler. Cook for 5–6 minutes or until the egg white has just set. Serve immediately with hot buttered toast.
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