Feast Yourself Thin: baked eggs with prosciutto and porcini
This is an adaptation of a dish that I first ate for breakfast in Piemonte during truffle service. The original was copiously laden with white truffles, and for those whose larder stretches that far, please feel free to substitute them here. If not, you may also use the dried porcini, which give a very fine result.
- 12 eggs
- ¼ lb. thinly sliced prosciutto
- 6 tbsp. dried porcini
- 6 tbsp. heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
Reconstitute the porcini by adding them to boiling salted water. Allow them to tumble briefly in the boiling water, cover, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 15 – 20 minutes, until soft. Chop coarsely and cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Oil a cookie sheet lightly and cook one slice of prosciutto per person while preparing the cocottes. Bake until crisp, approximately ten minutes. Remove and reserve.
Prepare six cocottes by lining the tops of each with a slice of prosciutto, and place a tablespoon each of the dried porcini and heavy cream in the bottom of each. Break eggs, two by two, into a bowl without breaking the yolks. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and slide into the cocottes.
Place the cocottes into a baking pan, and place the baking pan into the oven, pouring boiling water halfway up the side of the cocottes. Cook for fifteen minutes. At the end of fifteen minutes, begin to check the cooking by gently shaking the baking pan. Remove from the oven when the white is set but while the yolk is still soft. Top with the crispy prosciutto and serve.
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre 2001, Raveneau
This Chablis is an extremely luxurious choice for this dish, but a very successful one. The spicy, citrus-hued complexity speaks to the rich, earthy character of the porcini, while the crisp acidity is a perfect foil for the salty prosciutto. Montée de Tonnerre is a premier cru Chablis, but it is arguably the closest to the grands crus. It is also a specialty of Domaine François Raveneau, widely considered the premier producer of Chablis. The wines are expensive, but certainly worth the investment for the true lover of white burgundy. The texture of the Raveneau’s Montée de Tonnerre is invariably rich, and the finish is extremely long. This is a pretty decadent wine, but while serving this dish at a formal dinner there would be few better choices.
Savennières “Clos du Papillon” 2001, Domaine des Baumard
Savennières is produced from the Chenin Blanc grape in the Loire Valley near the city of Anjou. The best examples can age for decades and develop a sweet-savory complexity that melds honey, ripe peaches, and an earthy note that is often described as “lanolin”, or even sheep-like. It is, however, an exquisite sheepy-ness. Baumard is generally considered the most skilled and classic producers of Savennières, and this cuvee is produced from a south-facing site on the Loire River that ripen the grapes to perfection. Although there is a lush element to the nose, the wine is normally still dry on the palate, with just a hint of sugar to balance the bracing acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape. A very ripe vintage such as the 1997 that I recently enjoyed will have just a bit more sweetness which will be an interesting counterpoint to the salty ham.