Scared to try cooking with truffles? When "60 Minutes Overtime" got one look at footage of Patricia Wells, whipping up her easy polenta and truffles dish for the 60 Minutes crew on location in Provence, there was one thing to do: get her recipe! A quick exchange of e-mails and here it is. (If you want more recipes, check out Wells' new cookbook "Simply Truffles.") She was even gracious enough to invite us all to Provence to sample truffles in person. Now that's a field trip!
Creamy Polenta with Truffles and Poached Eggs
A creamy dish of warming, fragrant polenta is a standby in our home in the winter months. Sometimes we top it with a fiery tomato sauce or, as here, embellish with fresh black truffles and a truffle-infused poached egg.
Equipment: A mandoline or a very sharp chef's knife; 4 warmed, shallow soup bowls; 4 ramekins.
1 fresh black truffle (about 1 ounce; 30 g), cleaned
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
2 cups (500 ml) light cream
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup (135 g) quick-cooking Italian polenta
1 cup (100 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large, ultra-fresh eggs, at room temperature (See note)
1. Preheat the oven to 250F (120C).
2. With a vegetable peeler, peel the truffle. Mince the truffle peelings, place in a small jar, and tighten the lid. With the mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the truffle into thin slices. Place the slices in another small jar and tighten the lid.
3. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, cream, teaspoon of salt, and nutmeg to a simmer over medium heat. (Watch carefully, for milk will boil over quickly.) Add the polenta in a steady stream and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese and the minced truffle peelings, stirring to blend thoroughly. The polenta should be very creamy and pourable. Spoon into the warmed soup bowls. Place the bowls in the oven to keep warm.
5. In a large, deep skillet, bring 2 inches (5 cm) of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and add the vinegar and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Break the eggs into ramekins and, one by one, carefully lower the lip of the ramekin 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) into the water. Let the eggs flow out. Immediately cover the skillet, still maintaining a low simmer. Poach the eggs until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny and are covered with a thin translucent layer of white, about 3 minutes for medium-firm yolks and 5 minutes for firm yolks. With a slotted spoon, carefully lift the eggs from the water, drain, and place on each serving of polenta. Shower with truffle slices and season with the truffle salt. Serve immediately.
Note: To infuse the eggs with truffle aroma and flavor, store a whole, fresh truffle and the eggs in their shells in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Variation: No truffles? Morel mushrooms cooked in cream are delicious with the polenta and poached egg.