Since the French Laundry cookbook has been in my possession it’s been tricky to put down. With the mind-blowing success of the Sweet Potato Agnolotti re-creation featured in a previous blog post I was desperate to try another recipe from the book soon after.
I flicked through and discovered that the Truffle Infused Egg’s with Black Truffle Ragout involved a lot of ingredients currently in my store cupboard. Who keeps truffle in their larder? Well, me apparently. I had some preserved white truffle peelings coated in lardo that was a gift from a restaurant in Rome after finishing a 9 course truffle tasting menu. Ad-Hoc is the name and it’s a quality dining experience.
In addition to the truffle I also had truffle oil knocking about which is probably the most useless product in the world at times given a tiny bit goes a long way and its a mission to use it all by the best before date. I wanted to stay as close to the real dish as possible so I went and bought some blue eggs, a light shade of blue which when cooked turned white to resemble Keller’s eggs.
The recipe starts by taking the tops off some eggs, six to be precise although the recipe does make eight. I followed the instructions to the letter and laid an egg at a time in a tea towel and perched it over the edge of my chopping board with a bowl beneath to catch the contents while sawing gently with a serrated bread knife. This step required concentration but I didn’t find it too hard, no egg’s were broken and I made it a perfect six.
With the egg’s hollowed out and washed it was onto the custard. I was a little sceptical of just needing two eggs as most custards are formed from at least three yolks. Although after blending together and filling the eggs I heated a little of the excess custard in a pan to test if it would reach a decent consistency…and it did.
The filled eggs went into the oven in their cartons filled halfway to the top with water to create a bain-marie. After 40 minutes the egg’s looked ready to come out but its so hard to judge the consistency with such a small amount of custard.
Next up were the potato and chive chips. Many bloggers who had attempted this step had done so without major success. The trick I found was to cut the potato into a rectangular block and shave the soldier shapes from the end using a peeler, piling them up on top of each other, almost as if you were doing a potato gratin. I then buttered and salted a silicone mat and sandwiched a chive between two pieces of potato before squeezing the two pieces together. With a heavy tray on top it was into the oven to bake.
Taking them out, some were perfectly crisp and others just needed a touch longer. I removed the chips that were done and placed them into an airtight container once cool (if you do it when hot they will go floppy) soon after that all the chips were done.
The truffle ragout was the step that went completely wrong. Keller instructs you to use reduced veal stock and add chopped black truffle, butter and a little white wine vinegar. I decided to add my truffle peelings in lardo to the pot, big mistake. The mix congealed and resembled something you’d scrape off a baking tray that had been in the oven too long. Slightly disappointing.
Still though the essence of the dish was alive and well so I placed the eggs into a fresh carton for presentation and served each one with a chip. The dish is meant to be a canapé and it’s a perfect idea for one. The crisps dipped in the eggs were delicious, my custards were slightly runny but that didn’t detract from the flavour. Would the truffle ragout have made a difference? Probably in terms of richness but I didn’t really miss it. Another winner from Mr Thomas Keller.