Eggs en cocotte with smoked haddock
A breakfast feast worthy of Edward VII, this decadent dish is about getting the timing right so that the whites are set and the yolks still runny – get your timer on.
Equipment: You will need 4 small cocotte dishes.
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3 and grease 4 small cocotte dishes with butter.
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan, add the bay leaf and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes.
Bring the liquid back to a simmer, add the haddock and poach gently for 4–5 minutes, or until the fish flakes apart when pushed. Remove the fish from the liquid and flake into a bowl.
Melt the butter in a separate saucepan, add the flour and whisk together. Strain the poaching liquid into a jug and measure out 300ml/10fl oz. Gradually whisk the liquid into the butter and flour until smooth, then simmer gently for 2–3 minutes, or until thickened.
Pour most of the sauce over the fish, reserving a little for the top of each egg, and carefully fold to combine. Divide the mixture between the moulds, then crack an egg on top of each. Spoon over the reserved sauce, sprinkle over the Parmesan and then transfer to a deep roasting tin.
Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes, then bake for 10–12 minutes, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Garnish with chopped chives and serve with buttered toast.