Rob From the Rich and Give Truffles to the Poor
I know what you are thinking. Based on the fancy pants ingredients in this dish and the haute descriptions, this seems like something reserved for trust-fund babies and old money fat cats. Not the case, plebian reader. I like to think of this as superior breakfast for the adventurous palette. Got a little time after a hard week and want to treat yourself to something lovely? Snag the ingredients for truly THE best bacon, egg and cheese of all time. I’m talkin’ eternity.
This recipe is a lovely tower of creamy eggs, rich goat cheese bechamel, savory morel mushrooms, and prosciutto baked until crispy as bacon. The whole mix is atop a toasted round of brioche (cut with a $1 ring mold – pick one up and start impressing folks with your presentation skills) and topped with seasonal violets and leaves of fresh thyme. I usually tell people to make dishes for people that they love, but this is reserved for people in the upper echelons of your love contingency. Like the top 5.
Truthfully, you can go into this very budget-mindedly without sacrificing on taste. Brioche can be replaced with challah or another cheaper, eggy bread. Goat’s milk cheese can be acquired for a reasonable price and at most grocery stores. Same deal with the prosciutto. There is no replacement for morels and truffle oil, but they are your only splurge and you won’t be using a lot of them. If you want my opinion, although it won’t be nearly as luxe, you could get away with replacing the morels with a super fresh in-season mushroom and leave out the truffle oil. Not the same dish, but still decadent as hell. But really, get the truffle oil. You use so little and if you’ve never had truffles before, you need to. You really, really, really need to. Like now.
This recipe was born from our attempts (and by our, I mean my friends Richard and Amy, whom I invited to help me cook and who brought the lovely violets that I think make the presentation) to create an award-winning entry into the Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition. We were sent 1 oz. of morel mushrooms and asked to make something lovely. Well, creative kids that we are, we ended up making two dishes, and this, my darlings, is the runner up. Can you believe that we found something crazy enough to guild the proverbial lily? And it wasn’t truffled eggs? Make this one first, and then if you want to up the decadence, read our entry in the competition. By the way, I’d be remiss in not thanking Justin Marx for his inclusion of my humble site in the short list of competitors. Talk about good people Not to mention their products are ever-so-lovely – I spend hours just thinking how much damage I can do with their fabulous ingredients. A cook’s dream.
But I digress, as it’s time for some decadence. This recipe is NOT hard to cook. In fact, the hardest part is the grocery shopping. It does, however, go in stages, with all of the components assembled at the last minute. It’s forgiving, though, so take your time stirring and assembling, and maybe enlist those aforementioned people you love in putting the whole thing together. And then get them to wash the dishes.
Morel Bacon, Egg and Cheese (Truffled Eggs on Brioche with Morels, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Chip)
1/4 oz. of dried morels
1 c. of chicken stock
2 tbs of butter
3 slices of brioche
2 tbs. of butter
2 prosciutto slices
2 tbs. of butter
2 tbs. of flour
2 c. of milk
1/3 c. of cream
1 c. of mild goats milk cheese, grated (we used Midnight Moon Goat from Whole Foods, but use whatever you like, to include 8 oz. of mild soft goat cheese)
pinch of black pepper
pinch of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. of salt
2 tbs. of truffle oil
3 tbs. of butter
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of white pepper
2 tbs. of cream
fresh thyme leaves
Round one – prep your morels. Bring your stock to a boil and plunk in your morels. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes or until mushrooms are puffy and lovely. Strain, making sure any grit is poured out with the chicken broth. Slice morels in half and sauté in a pan with 2 tbs. of butter on medium love until soft – about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Round two – begin by prepping your brioche. Cut out slices from a loaf, or if you want to be ultra fancy, cut out rounds using a 3″ ring mold. Cookie cutters also work well. Plunk 2 tbs. of butter into a skillet and melt on low heat. Turn up the heat to medium low and toast the bread on each side until golden. Set aside.
Round three – make your prosciutto chips (and you can skip this step, my vegetarian darlings). Line a baking pan with foil and crank your oven to 450°. Lay prosciutto flat on the baking pan, making sure that the pieces aren’t touching. Place in the oven and bake until crispy and dark rose, about 10-12 minutes. Check once or twice to make sure that it doesn’t burn – there’s not much fat on the prosciutto so they can cook quickly depending on the thickness of the slices. Set aside.
Round four – make your bechamel (cream sauce). Melt 2 tbs. of butter in the same pot you sautéed your morels in on medium low. Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth and all incorporated – about 1 minute or so. Slowly add your milk in dribs and drabs, whisking to prevent lumps. Keep on whisking and crank the heat to medium to coax the sauce into thickening. When it gets lovely and creamy, pour in the heavy cream. Whisk and add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Turn off the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. If you are using goat cheese instead of a hard goat’s milk cheese that can be grated, just toss spoonfuls of it into the sauce and stir. Taste for salt and pepper and correct seasoning. Set aside.
Round five – egg action. Scramble together 6 eggs, truffle oil, salt and white pepper. Melt 3 tbs. of butter in a skillet on low and then slowly pour in your eggs. Keep your heat LOW the whole time and gently stir your eggs as small curds form delicately. This is a slow process, but not complicated. Just keep stirring until the eggs are creamy and shiny and still a little wet. Pour in the cream and turn off the heat.
Now, for the big finish – grab some plates and put a piece of brioche on each. If you are going for fancy presentation, put the ring mold over the brioche and gently put 1/3 of the eggs right into the ring mold. Otherwise, just portion the eggs right over the toasted brioche however you’d like. Split the morels amongst the three plates of eggs. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese bechamel over the works. Sprinkle the thyme leaves and the violets over the entire plate. Spear the top of the eggs with a shard of prosciutto.
Tuck into some majesty.