Emile Henry Ramekins
Ramekins are known to congregate in opulent French restaurants. They notably appear at the end of the meal holding the piece de resistance; a decadent crème brulee. With a simple design, these glazed ceramic dishes bring attention to culinary accomplishments, whether the chef is the head of a renowned restaurant or the master of a home kitchen.
Frustratingly, I cannot claim to be either. Instead, I consider myself a non-progressing amateur cook who chose to pursue a career in nutrition. Still, there are those times when I want to impress my guests. In these instances, simplicity and presentation are vital. Simplicity, because I want to be the social butterfly host I once imagined, fluttering around the room filling champagne glasses. Presentation because I want them to have the impression that I spent hours preparing — and perhaps give them the surprise of their life after they arrive expecting mediocrity.
Enter the Emile Henry ramekins. For me, these are a gateway to achievable, sophisticated cooking. After trialing four different dishes — including the noodle-free sweet potato lasagna recipe below — I am sold. All of them turned out edible and, dare I say, delicious. In reviewing the Emile Henry ramikens, I’m focusing on how these dishes can be desirable depending on your event type or family situation.
Family Life – When You Have a Lot of Mouths to Feed
A concern with ramekins is their “frivolous” reputation. The thought is that they will occupy cupboard space and only be used as often as your great-grandmother’s fine China. However, they can work in your favor if you’re trying to appeal to the pickiest eaters in a group. When I was using the ramekins for one of the dishes I made, a sautéed vegetable egg bake, it was reminiscent of preparing mix-and-match tacos at a family dinner. With the ramekins, all of the ingredients can be chopped and ready to go, then brought to the table and used at will. If a house is divided over the flavor of onion, conflicts can be settled by making the ingredient optional using a ramekin. Plus, they are a safe and fun way to include youngsters in the prep or cooking process.
The Single Life — Cooking for One or Two
Cooking solo can be aggravating if a recipe results in abundance. What ensue are “Ground Hog Day” meals, when we’re forced to repeatedly eat leftovers to prevent waste. The egg bake and another of the four dishes, a Fall Fruit Oatmeal Bake, were both perfectly portioned with zero leftovers.
From a dietitian perspective, I also view this as a positive for individuals working toward weight loss. Research has shown that using smaller plates can result in reduced calorie intake at a meal while still achieving a feeling of satiety.
A Formal Affair — Impressing Guests
A classy miniature dish placed on a brunch table screams sophisticated magazine cover. And the ramekin’s small, round shape is a nice contrast to tall, vertical beverage glasses and wide, flat plates. Even if you choose not to cook with your ramekin, you can still use it for fancy plating techniques. For example, after lightly applying cooking spray, tightly pack risotto into the dish and turn it over onto a serving plate. With a few taps,you will have a perfectly portioned cylinder of risotto that can be topped with parmesan shavings or covered with a favorite gravy for a finishing touch.
Everyday Versatility & Other Observations
Of course, nothing comes without a downside. Doing dishes can be a chore. The more ramekins you use, the more you will have to wash. Thankfully, Emile Henry made their ramekins dishwasher proof. They are also heat resistant, meaning they can safely be taken directly from the freezer to the refrigerator to a hot oven and, finally, to your table.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Emile Henry ramekins. They are easy to use, made from durable material, storable without being a space hog and produce delicious dinners, like the lasagna recipe below. They receive one full belly and two satisfied thumbs up from me.
Noodle-free Sweet Potato Lasagna
- 2 unpeeled sweet potatoes, sliced into thin coins
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 finely chopped green onions (shallot shoots an be substituted)
- 2 diced beefsteak tomatoes
- 1 diced yellow bell pepper
- ½ cup diced mushrooms
- ½ bunch finely chopped kale (about 5 leaves)
- 2 teaspoons dried basil (could also use 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil)
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place sweet potato slices on a cooking sheet that has been lightly oiled with olive oil or cooking spray. Lightly salt and pepper and place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove and let rest.
- Pour olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat and swirl around the bottom of the pot until coated.
- Add minced garlic and shallots and cook about 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add tomato, bell pepper, mushrooms and kale. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until all vegetables are soft, stirring frequently.
- Add basil, salt and pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes
- In a mixing bowl, add the low-fat cottage cheese and eggs and stir
- Complete two layers per ramekin in the following order:
- sweet potato slices
- cottage cheese concoction
- light layer of parmesan cheese
- vegetable mixture
- Bake at 400° F for 10 to 15 minutes.