Poached Duck Egg with Porcini Cream Sauce

Eggs, Meat

One afternoon, I made a friend some macaroni & cheese.  The oozing, bubbly mug of the browned stuff turned out to be a saving grace for her that day.  It was one of the worst in recent memory.  Some weeks passed as her smile returned.  Then, just yesterday, she surprised me with a few duck eggs.  They came from some of her friends who keep the ducks, and she wanted to share the same pleasure she received with me.  So, this morning, for breakfast, I put together this rich, creamy dish, which I dedicate to friendship.

This should be called Eggs Seattleite because, 1, we love Eggs Benedict up here, 2, we love bacon up here, 3, we love crusty bread up here, 4, we love wine up here, and, 5, the porcinis love to grow up here. As you prepare this, keep the plate warm in the oven at about 200.

For the Porcini Cream Sauce

  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • porcini mushroom, fresh, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. bacon fat
  • 2 tsp. thyme, dried
  • black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Drop in the bacon fat.  When it’s clear and about to smoke, add the onions.  Stir for a minute, then add the garlic and porcinis.  Stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add the thyme and stir for a minute more.  Deglaze the skillet with the white wine.  Turn the heat down to medium-low.  Let the wine reduce to about half. Add the cream, sea salt and pepper.  Let that reduce to about half, until the sauce is thickened to your desire.  Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.  Save the solids for something like croquettes, or blend them up and smear them on toast, or just take a spoon and bring them to your mouth.

For the Bread

  • 1 thick slice of old bread, preferably sourdough
  • chicken stock (if you don’t have, just use salted water)

Get some stock or salted water boiling in a pot.  Take a spatula and hold the bread over it the steam until soft.  Flip to soften the other side.  Keep the bread a bit stiff in the middle.  Set on the plate to cool. For the Bacon

  • 2 slices of thick-cut bacon

Cook it over medium heat in a dry skillet.  Keep the spatula on the bacon to keep it flat.  Or use tongs.  You want the bacon to caramelize, but the inside to remain tender.  Set on top of the bread.  Strain the bacon fat.  Use for the porcini cream sauce if you didn’t have any on hand before. Let it watch For the Duck Egg

  • duck egg
  • 1 splash of white vinegar
  • water

In a pot, get some water boiling, enough to cover the egg completely once you drop it in.  Crack the duck egg into a small bowl.  When the water begins to boil,. add a splash of vinegar and reduce the heat to a simmer.  With a fork or slotted spoon, create a whirlpool with the water.  As you’re stirring, drop the egg into the water.  Continue to stir.  The duck egg seems to hold its white much better in the water than the chicken egg.  After about 3 minutes, as the foam begins to dissipate, remove the egg from water with the spoon and put it onto the bacon.   The yolk should still be golden in the center, full of promise and rich with nostalgia. To Finish

  • Steamed bread
  • Cooked bacon
  • Poached duck egg
  • Strained porcini sauce
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Arugula blossoms
  • Chive blossoms

Pour the sauce over the egg. Garnish with the blossoms and fresh thyme.  Serve immediately, with a fork and a knife.  Drink lots of coffee.  Feel good about life. When I did this, I was in a rush.  I had the sauce cooking the whole time I was arranging the dish.  I strained the sauce right onto the plate.  You can do that too to save some time.

VARIATION WITH CHICKEN EGG: This will totally work with chicken eggs.  Just don’t cook the egg as long.

VARIATION WITH OTHER MUSHROOMS: Porcinis can be expensive and impossible to find.  There are dried ones out there you could use.   But they are sometimes expensive and unavailable.  Rather, use white button mushrooms or crimini mushrooms.  Use 4 of these instead of 1 porcini.  Oysters, now a cultivated mushroom, would also work.

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