Sunday, 30 October 2011

truffled egg toast

truffled egg toast is gusty and certain of its ability to please. 
o and i have to thank russell norman for bringing truffled egg toast to london. we first ate this super-calorific treat at spuntino in soho. it is basically a thick slice of bread whose depressed centre holds two very runny yolks framed by melting fontina cheese. the real pleasure though is olfactory - the sharp stinky nuttiness of melting fontina taken up several notches by pungent truffle oil. 

my first encounter with truffles was at gordon ramsay in claridges. o took me there for new year's eve in two thousand and eight. dinner that night opened on a luxurious cream-cheese made bold by white truffle oil. i've been in love ever since. recently, we bought a bottle of black truffle infused oil from gelupo. we've used it to make our weekend brunches decadent. o loves them most with soft scrambled eggs. this weekend i decided to try my hand at making truffled egg toast. there is plenty of instruction on how to make them at home online. my only advice to you is to make sure that you have a really good and really fresh loaf of white bread. if you live in north london you're lucky as i'll tell you where a loaf that fits the purpose can be found as i did a fair bit of looking around to get the right one. 

i was curious about the story of truffled egg toast in america and as always trusty google gave me the background i needed. truffled egg toast is synonymous with restaurantar jason denton who runs 'ino in new york. his recipe is to be found in made in america by lucy lean. youtube has a precise clip with chef beatty from davanti enoteca in chicago demonstrating how to make truffled egg toast. i personally found jason denton's recipe to be exacting, easy to follow and a little lighter than beatty's version. i did buy asparagus with the intention to serve it at brunch as the recipe calls for but unfortunately it became a weeknight supper. i would certainly recommend it though if only because a little bit of green wouldn't hurt. the recipe calls for the asparagus to be grilled for two minutes at the most so as to retain a bite adding a contrast to the runny yolks and soft bread. the original recipe calls for two yolks per person, i reduced those to one each. you will need a white loaf with integrity as anything loose textured will lead to a mess with the yolk and cheese running through. there is an excellent bakery called spence in stoke newington which has the perfect white loaf with a compact structure. it is soft and has a spring that makes it easy to press it down to create a hollow to hold the yolk. gail's bakery suggested a pain de mie which would work just as well but the one i saw on ocado was not square which is why i didn't end up getting it. 

here's what you will need to make truffled egg toasts for four people.
four slices of white bread, sliced 1 inch thick
fontina cheese, sliced thin
four large yolks
truffled infused olive oil
sea-salt and pepper 
baking tray

pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

lightly toast the bread in the toaster. score a small square in the centre of the slice and then press down on it using a pestle. you want to create a little depression that will hold the yolk. prepare all four slices in the same manner. place the slices on the baking tray.

separate a yolk at a time placing in the hollow as you go along. 

frame the bread with thin slices of fontina making sure that the yolk remains uncovered. 
place in the oven for 4 minutes until the yolks crinkle just a bit at the top. take them out of the oven, stir the yolk with the tip of a knife so that the melted cheese and yolks combine. drizzle with a generous amount of truffle oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and serve.

i found that the fontina did not melt as much as it should so in future i think i will put the bread with the fontina frame in earlier to let it melt a bit before adding the yolks and placing in the oven again. if you prefer a firmly cooked yolk you wouldn't need to do it in two stages and can follow the instructions above, letting it sit in the oven for longer till the yolks are done to your desire. and don't waste the whites. you can turn them into meringues which is what i did.    

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