September 29, 2014
Amuse-Bouche
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œufs brouillés parfumés aux cèpes
(porcini-scented scrambled eggs)
The afternoon in 1955 that my mother’s first television was delivered, my brother and I tried to watch Rin Tin Tin through a screen full of snow. (The roof antenna had yet to be installed.) I’m sure it was shortly thereafter when I saw my first cooking program, or at least my first cooking segment on some morning show. I don’t remember.
The earliest cooking show I do remember was the Joyce Chen Show. It was broadcast in black and white on certain weekdays on our local public broadcasting station. Looking up the history of the show, I’m finding both 1966 and 1967 as the starting dates. I think it may have been earlier since I left the family home in 1966. I used to watch the show when I was at home in the afternoon, and even wrote a recipe down once to try. The dish was a combination of chicken, snow peas, and cashews with a sauce made from chicken broth and cornstarch. Very simple.
After then, I didn’t watch any cooking shows again until the same television station started presenting a series of programs on Saturday mornings. Unlike today’s cooking shows, these programs were interested in teaching a few recipes, and production values were kept to a minimum. This was probably in the 1980s. Today, with their emphasis on entertainment, I find cooking shows intolerable.
One day, YouTube pointed me to a program by Heston Blumenthal. Since I had eaten this summer at one of his restaurants and liked the food, I thought I’d give the show a few minutes of my time. Since Blumenthal is noted for his off‑the‑wall preparations, I was expecting another avant‑garde chef presenting much fluff and little substance. On the contrary, the show had no chemicals or liquid nitrogen. It emphasized that everything cooked on the show could be cooked in your home kitchen (if you have a blow torch and dry ice). The show dealt with eggs, and Blumenthal claimed that he would make the best scrambled eggs. That reminded me that I had thinking about making French‑style scrambled eggs as an amuse‑bouche.
Back in 2000, I presented two scrambled egg recipes as entrées: œufs brouillés à la tapenade (scrambled eggs with tapenade) and œufs brouillés au saumon fume  (scrambled eggs with smoked salmon). This new recipe is similar. It is loosely based on the published version of Blumenthal’s recipe and has additional fat when compared with my original recipes. I tried a number of flavorings, and settled on porcini‑mushroom powder, an ingredient I make by grinding dried porcini mushrooms into a fine powder. (The ideal flavoring would be truffles, but I happen to be out at the moment.)
Blumenthal cooks his eggs slowly over simmering water. He continuously stirs them for 15 to 20 minutes with a spatula. I do mine over boiling water and continuously whisk. My version takes only a couple of minutes, but it is not the least forgiving like his.
50 g (1 large)
egg
10 ml (2 t)
heavy cream (36% butterfat)
14 t
dried porcini powder
slight pinch
fine salt
1. Whisk the egg and cream together until evenly thin. Do not use a fork as it will introduce too much air into the mixture. Sift the mushroom powder into the mixture so it doesn’t clump. Sprinkle in the salt.
2. Have a spatula and bowl ready as called for in the last instruction.
3. Place the mixture in a double boiler arrangement over lightly boiling water. (I use a small stainless‑steel bowl over a saucepan.) Whisk rapidly and continuously just until the mixture thickens. The end comes rapidly.
4. Remove from the heat immediately, and transfer the eggs to the bowl. Then, divide the eggs between small serving dishes.
Yield: 2 servings, about 30 ml (2 T) each.

© 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.