Gratin of hard-boiled eggs


French wine harvest cooks have taught me that there are some good-value "little" dishes that really punch above their weight. They are the sort of things that get forgotten in the rush for on-trend recipes. For me the test remains, is this truly delicious? I think this egg dish,which sounds nothing, passes the test. Every time I make this everyone loves it. It's a gratin which works as a first course, or as a light meal with a salad.

By the way, you can quickly prepare these eggs when you have a moment and finish cooking when you already have the oven on for roasting or baking.

FOR 6 PEOPLE

7 eggs 1 tablespoon thick cream (crème fraîche if possible)

1 tablespoon grated Gruyère, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F, 200°C.

Put six of the eggs into a pan with enough cold water to cover. Bring them to the boil, simmer for 5 mins., turn off and leave for 5 more mins.

Plunge the eggs into cold water and leave to cool.

Shell and cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks into a bowl, mash with a fork. Lightly beat the remaining egg and add to the bowl together with the crème fraîche, Gruyère, parsley and seasoning. Spoon the quite liquid mixture into the eggs until they overflow, and put them in a lightly oiled gratin dish. You can do this ahead of time.

They now need a final five minutes in the top of a hot-ish oven or under a grill to melt the cheese and to brown. The trick is to get them really hot without overcooking.