Soft-Boiled Egg, Red Pesto Bread Soldiers Recipe

Oeuf à la Coque, Mouillettes Rouges

The Oeuf à la Coque: one of the simplest pleasures in life.

It is the easiest thing to make — although, believe it or not, I have to ask Maxence every time how long the egg should be boiled for — and conveniently single-serving if you want it to be.

It is fun to crack and pop its little hat open, and it is also the best companion to a few mouillettes. Mouillettes? Yes, those little fingers of toasted bread, a small set of edible cutlery with which to stir, mop and thoroughly enjoy the inside of your egg.

Mouillettes are traditionally spread with butter (preferably salted), but the concept is more than open to variations, and you should absolutely feel free to dress your mouillettes with whatever apparel strikes your fancy. Eggs are such easy-to-please, lenient little fellows.

The Oeuf à la Coque is also, undoubtedly, the king of egg dishes. I mean, what other egg dish requires the use of its own little throne, the royal coquetier, giving me the occasion and joy of whipping out my designer egg cup, complete with matching spoon and integrated salt dispenser?

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Soft-Boiled Egg, Red Pesto Bread Fingers Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves 1.

Soft-Boiled Egg, Red Pesto Bread Fingers Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomato pesto
  • 1 slice of sandwich bread
  • 1 egg, preferably at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring water to a slow boil in a saucepan. Gently lower the egg into the water. Count 4 minutes ("Quatre minutes, c'est bien ça, Maxence?"), then remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon.
  2. In the meantime, toast the slice of bread, and spread it generously with red pesto. Cut the slice of bread into fingers, thin enough to be easily inserted into the egg, but large enough to stay upright.
  3. Sit the egg snugly into an egg cup, tap it gently all around the top with a knife, then slice off the hat that you have thus loosened.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the inside of the hat and into the egg.
  5. Scrape out the inside of the hat with a spoon, and eat that first.
  6. Take one of your mouillettes, dip it in, and eat the yolk-coated end. Repeat until all mouillettes have given up the fight.
  7. Go back to your good old spoon, and scoop out the remaining bits of egg white that line the shell. Enjoy the unique sensation of that spoon scraping against the shell.
  8. Smack your lips and put the empty hat into the empty egg shell, for good luck.
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  • Mmmm, Clotilde, that sounds delicious! Sometimes the simplest things–such as oeufs a la coque–are indeed the best. One of my favorite simple meals is a peeled soft-boiled egg nestled into a warm bowl of ratatouille, the whole salted and peppered liberally. Mmmm. I wish lunchtime would hurry up…

  • jerusha

    clotilde, i have just this week discovered your blog, and i am smitten. congratulations on one year. in reading past entries, i have discovered two instances in which you have mentioned using the frozen version of something–leeks and fava beans– and in both cases, i have thought: leave it to the French! here in the U.S. i have NEVER seen either of those things frozen. oh how i wish i had. anyway, many thanks for providing me with entertainment and education. i especially love learning new French words and phrases (mine is all book-learned)…

  • Clotilde!
    I am going to try this at home…it sounds delicious… you website is FABULOUS. And very yummy. :)

  • Clotilde, only you could make the simple soft boiled egg and “soldiers” as they are known to my partner and I sound so elegant and grand.
    Paris tomorrow and then Chateauponsac!! Yahoo, holidays at last!

    David, in Ottawa

  • charlotte

    What a beautiful picture Clotilde!
    Such a simple but delicious dish…
    I’m going to go get some pinenuts right now!

  • catherine

    Oeuf a la coque – Mouillettes rouges,
    I have never heard of this food.
    It’s so cute. The small bowl and spoon set are so cute !
    According to your description, this recipe looks easy. I’ll try it in my home.

    From catherine who is smacking at special egg cuisine

  • alicia

    i know what i am having for breakfast tomarrow……. except i do not own an eggcup. :-(

  • i have to tell you that i had this for dinner last night. no doubt influenced by this entry (i read it in the evening).

  • Love the “you can’t bury a king without his crown, can you?” – indeed, eggs are KING!!

  • Adele

    Alicia, perhaps you could nestle the egg in a shot glass or cordial glass, if you have one of those. My husband still has the lovely “Peter Rabbit” design egg cup from his childhood.

    In my own childhood home we dispensed the cup entirely and scopped the egg out of its shell onto buttered toast — fondly known as “eggy on toast”.

  • Ant

    But if you bury the king with his crown, what does the next king wear?

    You forgot to mention that the egg should be at room temperature. If it’s straight from the fridge you risk cracking the shell. Although, if it is straight from the fridge, you can put the egg in the water at the beginning, apparently; not sure how you’d work out the revised timing. Alternatively, allegedly, you can put a dash of vinegar into the water, although every time I’ve tried it the shell still cracks. Perhaps I have my water too hot.

    Mouilettes… from mouiller, I suppose? We call them soldiers in the UK.

  • Adele

    Alicia, perhaps a shot glass or cordial glass would do the trick. My husband still has the “Peter Rabbit” design egg cup from his childhood Royal Doulton china set.

    When I was growing up, we sometimes dispensed with the egg cup altogether and scooped the egg onto a whole piece of buttered toast, with another piece (cut on the diagonal) to soak up any drips. We always called this dish “eggy on toast” and it was my favorite special treat when I had to stay home from school due to illness.

  • chloe

    Love soft boiled eggs with buttered toast. Definitely a comfort food in this household. And Ant? If you check the recipe, it does call for 1 egg, preferably at room-temperature.

  • Ant

    Oops, so it does. Sorry Clotilde.

  • Hande

    Please tell me, you all: How and how long do I get my egg boiled, so that the whites are solid (sorry, otherwise I find it yucky) and the yolk is still liquid? 4 minutes are definetely too short (from my experience) here in munich, not that much above sea level (I know altitude plays a role!).
    PS: Or should I post this into the forum???

  • hi clotilde–we LOVE egg cups ! and yours, so sleek & modern too! can you share the maker?

  • My gosh, I now have an insatiable urge to go downstairs and cook up an egg and some mouillettes!

  • cheesy chilaquiles


    Pupil :
    Please miss, is it true that French people only ever eat one egg for breakfast?
    Teacher :
    What makes you ask that?
    Pupil :
    …because yesterday you said that in France, one egg is un oeuf.

    With apologies,

  • Meg

    So lovely. I shall drag out my grandma’s old silver egg cup, and do this very thing.

  • Hi Clotilde,

    Because I know you love kitchen gadgets, I have to tell you that a recent purchase of an egg timer has changed my life. Instead of a flat arbitrary 4 minutes, you submerse the timer in with your eggs and it changes color to notify you of exactly the soft/hard status of your egg–it is a dream come true for the soft boiled egg lover!

  • Clotilde,

    I love eggs that are soft-boiled. Imagine wobbly whites and runny yolks…mmm…Never thought of eating them with fingers of toasted bread. Sounds simply yummy! I’m hungry already! :)

  • That sounds so simple AND delicious! Mmmm. Now if only I can find an egg-cup around here!

  • Happy Birthday to your blog
    keep up the great work. The photos are great, the descriptions and recepies wonderful.
    Gotta tell you eggs are delish especially soft boiled and with little slices of bread with cream cheese and a large dallop of tomatoe sauce.
    take care

  • Jerusha – Yes, I do believe that Picard (the leading frozen food store in France) has done a lot to bring interesting food into home cooks’ lives, with hard-to-find veggies, fish and meat, frozen in their natural state. Some people even throw “Picard dinner parties” where everything comes from Picard!

    David – I had no idea mouillettes were called soldiers in English! Mouillette sounds somewhat cuter though, no?

    Adele – Oh I still have the Peter Rabbit cereal cup from my childhood! Maybe they match?

    Ant – Excellent point about the crown! Um, let’s say in the kingdom of eggs, each new kings demands that a new crown be made especially for him! :)

    Hande – I’m sorry, I have no idea! Yes, this is a great question to post in the forums!

    Maia – My egg cup comes from Crate & Barrel circa 2001, I think! I saw it and was instantly smitten…

    Malory – You know what? I have one of these, a gift from a friend. But for some reason I never use it — I guess I like the little ceremonial of timing the cooking!

  • That’s one of my favourite breakfasts! I make it quite regularly… The only difference is that I usually put the egg in the cold water and start timing only after it boils. About 1:20, 1:22 makes a perfect egg with hard white and soft yolk…

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