Chaud–froid free-range egg and grissini

Chaud–froid free-range egg and grissini

By
From
Marque
Serves
10
Photographer
Stuart Scott

This dish is the invention of the great Alain Passard. It was the cause of my culinary epiphany in 1996 and I finally learnt its secrets when I worked at his Parisian restaurant, L’Arpège, in 1998. Sweet and sour, hot and cold, this symphony in a shell delivers with magnificent simplicity. For twelve years this was served at Marque as the first hors d’oeuvre as an homage to the great man and as an aide-mémoire to ‘keep it simple’.

Ingredients

Method

  1. To make the grissini dough, combine 5 grams fresh yeast and 225 millilitres warm water in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 teaspoons Murray River pink salt and 430 grams bakers' flour. Using the dough hook, mix well on medium speed for about 6 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Remove from the bowl and divide the dough into two equal portions. Wrap both portions tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Take 10 eggs and use an egg knocker to carefully tap each egg on the top. Remove the top and discard. Empty the contents into a bowl and reserve for later use, ensuring the egg yolks remain unbroken. Carefully remove all shards of shell and the membrane inside the shell. Clean the eggshells with water and store upside down in the egg carton to allow them to dry.
  3. Pour 500 millilitres pouring cream into a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon quatre épices and 2 teaspoons table salt. Whisk until at firm ribbon stage, then place in a large squeeze bottle and refrigerate until required.
  4. Grease and flour two 20 × 25 centimetre baking trays. Working with one portion of the grissini dough at a time, roll it out to 1 centimetre thick, but avoid kneading or rolling the dough excessively. Use a pastry scraper to cut dough strips that are about 5 centimetres × 5 millimetres. Once all the dough has been cut into strips, roll each one so that it is at least 30 centimetres long – you will need twenty lengths for ten serves. Drape the dough lengths crosswise over the greased trays and stick each end of the dough to the workbench to avoid it springing back. Space the grissini evenly along the trays, ensuring they do not touch each other. Leave the grissini lengths on the workbench for 1 hour to prove.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Gently whisk 50 grams egg whites until foamy, then brush it lightly onto the grissini. Sprinkle salt over the top of the grissini. Use the pastry scraper to trim the ends of the grissini level with the edges of the trays. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, then place in an airtight container until required. The grissini are best prepared within two days of consumption.
  6. Place the eggshells upright in their cartons. Gently separate the egg yolks from the whites and carefully place one yolk into each shell without breaking the yolk. Place the egg carton into a combi steam oven and steam at 55ºC for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can float the eggs in a water bath at 55°C for about 10 minutes.
  7. To serve, slice a few chives very finely with a sharp knife. Remove the bottle of cream mixture from the refrigerator, shake well, then fill the eggs to within 1 centimetre of the top of the shell. Use a pipette to drop three dots of maple syrup on top of the cream. Finish with a little sprinkle of chives. Serve each egg in an eggcup with a teaspoon and two grissini alongside.
Tags:
Marque
Mark
Best
Pei
Modern
restaurant
chef
high
end
fine
dining
challenging
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