Friday, August 3, 2007
Duck Egg al Tegamino
This right here is my idea of a perfect supper. Uova al Tegamino (or “en Cocotte” if you bake the same thing in ramekins using a water bath) is one of the simplest and most sumptuous comfort foods around - truly greater than the sum of its parts. The dish is infinitely versatile according to the season: asparagus, leeks, and, yes, pancetta all make wonderful bases for baked eggs. But at this time of year, Mountain Sweet Berry Farm has the most divine baby fingerling potatoes I’ve ever tasted.
And by “baby,” I mean that some are literally the size of your pinkie nail. Check them out next to the garlic clove in the photo below. I love using fingerling potatoes here because their mineral aroma and flavor is the most pronounced of any potato I’ve had. These little ones are so fresh out of the ground that, even after a good wash, they smell of the cool, flinty earth, and that’s what makes the potatoes such a lovely foil for the luxuriant richness of duck egg.
Of course, hen eggs are more traditional here, and you shouldn’t put off making this if you can’t locate duck eggs right away. Just crack over a couple of the freshest hen eggs you can find – or for that matter, a few quail or pheasant eggs would be great too. But you’ll have to vary the cooking time to make sure the yolks stay runny, because that’s what you’re counting on here. As soon as the yolk is broken, it melds with the garlicky olive oil, the salty slivers of cheese, and the heady scent of truffles to create the most decadently satisfying sauce you’ll ever make. Serve with crusty bread, a simple green salad dressed in balsamic or sherry vinaigrette, and a glass of your favorite red wine.
Special equipment: 2 small, shallow gratin dishes
½ lb baby wax potatoes (fingerling if possible)
1 clove garlic, crushed but still in its paper
1 medium shallot, halved and sliced thinly
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 fresh duck eggs
good parmesan cheese
white truffle oil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a small baking dish, toss the potatoes, garlic clove, and sliced shallot with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt and a good glug of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the shallot is golden brown.
Move a rack to the top of the oven and raise the temperature to 450 F.
Once the oven is hot, remove the garlic from the potatoes and toss the mixture with some freshly ground black pepper. Divide between 2 small gratin dishes on a sheet pan. Crack a duck egg into the center of each dish being careful not to break the yolk. Place the pan in the top of the oven and bake for about 6 – 8 minutes or until the white of the egg is just set. Meanwhile shave a few shards of parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle a little more salt over the eggs, scatter over a few scant slivers of cheese, and drizzle with a little truffle oil if using. Serve immediately.