Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease a small oven-proof bowl with butter. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Fill the bottom with cream and cover with filling, which can be ham, salmon or a pre-cooked vegetable. Break the egg on it. You could also add some spices on it. Place the bowl with the egg in a gratin dish, or another shallow dish, place on the oven grill and pour (preferably boiling) water into the dish to halfway up the egg bowls.
Bake the egg for 10–15 minutes, or to taste. The egg white must be solid, the yolk is up to you. This is the basic recipe. Now you can make variations. On the page opposite you will see a number of variations, but you can probably think of more. Sometimes it is good to add leftovers from the previous day. Always reserve a little filling to garnish the egg. Serve your oeuf cocotte with croutons.
Various cocottes for inspiration. (Some cocottes are double.)