Happiness comes quick and vanishes the same in my cooking life. A new large stock pot can make my week. Missing an ingredient from a recipe I have my heart set on making can ruin the night. Calling every butcher in town to find veal breast and failing can kill my mood the same way that finding a flawless stunning fresh black truffle can send me into elation. The small things, when it comes to food, are big.
When I made up my mind on this recipe, I knew I had a challenge- finding a fresh black truffle. I was ready to settle for frozen but when I found the fresh one, I was thrilled. I took pictures of it and tweeted it. I bragged about how beautiful my truffle was for two days...until I cooked it. It was just as tasty as it was beautiful.
I was not sure how this recipe would turn out. Custard is a tricky little item for me. It works or it does not with no exact rhyme or reason. But it looked appealing enough to try and because it worked it renewed my confidence in my custard-making-talents.
White Truffle Oil-Infused Custard with Black Truffle Ragout, a French Laundry recipe
You will need 4 sort of intact eggshells to bake the custard in. You can use the shells from the 2 eggs you use in the custard and 2 other eggs that can be reserved for other uses (an omelet or something!).
For $4.95, the egg cutter is actually a very fun little tool. There is something enthralling about just being able to take the very top off a fragile shell without damaging the rest of it. Once you get the egg out, the shell needs to be rinsed and the thin white lining-membrane removed- gently- it is an egg shell.
Ingredients: 1 large russet potato, 2 tablespoons clarified butter, melted; kosher salt, 20 chive chips (trimmed a little smaller than the potato strips).
This was so much fun to make and it made such a tasty treat! You need a couple of things you may not normally use- 2 silpats and a mandoline.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Peel the potato and trim it to bandaid shape (about 4 inch long, 1 inch wide). Cut the potato lenght-wise on a mandoline paper-thin. Keep the slices together so you can match them up again.
Brush both silpats with melted clarified butter and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Lay the potato slices in pairs on the silpat. Place a chive on the center of a potato slice and place the mate of the potato slice over it. Get any air bubbles out of there with your fingers so that the chive is perfectly sealed inside. Place the second silpat over the potatoes, salted side down, and top it with a baking sheet to keep the chips weighted down. Bake for about 25-30 minutes rotating the pan half way through. The chips should be golden brown and crispy.
Ingredients: 2 large eggs + 2 egg shells and the egg carton; 1/3 cup whole milk; 1/3 cup heavy cream; 2 teaspoons white truffle oil.
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until it reaches a boil. Pour the milk and cream into a blender and give it a short blend. Add the truffle oil and the 2 eggs and blend again. Strain through a chinois into a small pitcher (yes, in a pitcher, not a bowl or other container of your choice cause you will not be able to pour it out right). Let the custard sit for a few minutes and skim off any foam.
Put the eggshells in the carton and fill them up three quarter of the way up with custard. Put the egg carton in an oven-proof pan at least 4 inches deep and cover with water two thirds of the way up the eggs, inside the egg carton and out. Cover then pan with a lid or baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes. The finished eggs can be kept in the water in a warm place for up to 2 hours.
Ingredients: 4 teaspoons veal stock, 1 teaspoon finely minced black truffle; 2-3 small drops of white wine vinegar; 1/2 teaspoon butter; salt and pepper.
Combine the veal stock, truffles, vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until it reduces into a silky sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Swirl the butter and the truffle oil in right before you serve it.
Put the eggshell in an egg-cup-holder. Top with a little ragout and a chive chip.
Photography by Jennifer Olson.