Verdi’s poached eggs on a bed of spinach or chard with white truffle sauce
This is another recipe inspired by a visit to the Cucina Del Maestro restaurant in Parma (see Masterful Sformatino Di Ricotta with Black Truffle Sauce). The ‘maestro’ in this case is Verdi. However, the idea of poached egg surrounded by a truffle sauce is not new. Writing in his The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined, published in 1802, John Mollard describes:
“Fry a slice of bread from round a loaf in boiling lard, drain it dry, put it in a dish, and upon it slices of ham which have been stewed until tender in Madeira wine; then poach the eggs, put them on the ham, and round the bread put some asparagus, peas or truffle sauce.”
This way uses spinach (a classic pairing with poached eggs), but you can substitute the spinach with any of the suggestions John Mollard outlines above, very successfully.
The truffle sauce gives it a very rich taste which is lightened by the spinach or chard – nevertheless it makes a hearty lunch.
It takes no time because the white truffle sauce is ready-made. You obviously need a good quality one and I think vellutata tartufo bianco made by San Pietro a Pettine is as good as you are likely to find – available, of course, on Amazon. Dos Tartufi and Tartufi Jimmy are other good makes.
Recipe for Verdi’s poached eggs on spinach or chard with white truffle sauce
- 4 tbsps white truffle sauce (use the rest of a pasta)
- 300g/11 oz chard (very approximately – so much depends on the size of the stalks – follow this link for more on chard) or 260g/9 oz spinach
- 2 hearty slices of crusty bread
- 1 black truffle – ideally fresh, but you can use the type in the jars
- a couple of walnuts of butter
- smoked salt and freshly ground pepper (or ideally, a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes)
- 2 eggs (or more if you are feeding the hungry, in which case you will need more truffle sauce)
- Spanish sweet smoked paprika
- Warm your plates.
- Warm the truffle sauce gently (not on full strength) in the microwave (no need to take it out of its glass jar).
- Poach the eggs (follow this link for how to poach eggs if you don’t already know how)
- Put the butter in a wok, and add the torn spinach or chard (take the stems off first of course). Grind over the nutmeg (go here for the best nutmeg grinder if you find you are always grating your knuckles). Season. Stir for three or four minutes – until it’s gone floppy.
- Meanwhile toast the bread, and spread it with butter.
- Finely slice the truffle.
- Top the toast with the spinach or chard. Top that with the poached egg. Spoon over the sauce.
- Garnish with the truffle and finish the whole with a dusting of Spanish sweet smoked paprika.
Music to cook to
From Verdi’s Rigoletto