Renee Comet for The Washington Post; Styling by Bonnie S. Benwick
PLATE LAB APR 5, 2015
This twist on the traditional Burgundian dish uses duck eggs and pureed garlic for extra luxury and flavor, while leaving out the bacon lardons (and offering a sauce option) to keep it appropriate for vegetarians. One bonus: The wine's acid keeps the eggs neat, preventing all those streamers that can happen during poaching.
If you wish to make this a vegetarian dish, first read the NOTE, below.
Tested size: 4 servings
FOR THE TOAST
12 cloves garlic
Canola oil (may substitute olive oil or duck fat)
Pinch fine sea salt
Pinch freshly cracked black pepper
4 slices thick country-style bread, toasted
FOR THE SAUCE
2 cups chicken or duck stock, or mushroom or other vegetable broth (see NOTE)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ruby port
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups inexpensive, fruity red wine, preferably Burgundy (half a 750-milliliter bottle)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature (see NOTE)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon flour (optional; see NOTE)
FOR THE MUSHROOMS
8 ounces shiitake or oyster mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed (and stemmed if using shiitakes)
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
FOR THE EGGS
1 1/2 cups inexpensive, fruity red wine, preferably Burgundy, plus more as needed
4 duck eggs (may substitute extra-large chicken eggs)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
For the toast: Place the garlic cloves in a small saucepan, and pour in enough oil to barely cover them. Turn the heat to medium-high, then adjust it to medium or medium-low so the oil gently bubbles. Cook the garlic until very soft, 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic to a food processor. Add the salt and pepper; puree to form a smooth confit and transfer to a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil; refrigerate the rest for another use (up to 1 week), if desired.
Divide the toast among shallow soup bowls and put them in the oven to warm.
For the sauce: Bring the stock to a boil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes or until it has reduced to 1/2 cup. Transfer to a cup; rinse out and dry the saute pan, then return the pan to the stove top.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking oil in the saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the sliced shallot and garlic; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the port and vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, uncovered, until reduced to a glaze, 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the wine; cook until the liquid has reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the reduced 1/2 cup of stock; cook until the mixture has reduced to a slightly thicker consistency that can coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the butter until well incorporated, to form a sauce. Stir in the salt; taste, and add salt as needed. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting; cover to keep warm.
For the mushrooms: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of reserved cooking oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they collapse and lightly brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shallot, garlic, sage, butter and salt; cook until the mushrooms are caramelized and fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.
For the eggs: Line a plate with paper towels. Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, so the liquid is gently bubbling.
Crack the eggs into individual cups. Gently pour each egg into the wine, adding wine if needed to make sure the eggs are covered. Poach until the whites are set but the yolks are still very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the poached eggs to the paper-towel-lined plate.
To serve, carefully remove the bowls from the oven. Smear the top of each piece of toast with the garlic confit, then top each with a poached egg.
If the sauce has become too thick, whisk in a little of the egg-poaching wine to reach the desired consistency. Spoon the sauce over the egg and around the bowl. Add the mushrooms and pepper; garnish with the chives. Serve hot.
NOTE: If you used mushroom or another vegetable broth instead of chicken or duck stock, first mix the butter and flour together, and whisk the combination into the sauce, cooking briefly until it thickens. Stir in the salt, taste, and add more if needed. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer and return it to the pan over very low heat. Cover to keep warm.
From Brendan L'Etoile, chef at Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
Calories per serving: 550
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 23g 35%
Saturated Fat: 7g 35%
Cholesterol: 634mg 211%
Sodium: 1220mg 51%
Total Carbohydrates: 39g 13%
Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%