On Valentine’s Day, I woke up in a panic, realizing that I hadn’t planned anything for breakfast! Thankfully, I was the first one up, and quietly tip-toed out of bed, and around the squeaky floorboard to the kitchen. Still a bit groggy from a late night, I opened the fridge and welcomed the blast of sleep chasing cold air as it entered my lungs. I poked my head into the overcrowded ice-box and took not of the buttermilk, eggs, and cheese. “All the makings for muffins” I thought, but but then quickly dismissed this because it just didn’t seem very special. Shifting leftovers and jars around like a epicurean Rubik’s cube, I unearthed a tiny bottle filled with a few ounces of black gold, (no, not crude oil, the other black gold) and I knew I’d found my special ingredient.
Gourmet Attitude had sent over a bottle of truffle carpacio a few months back and I’ve been savouring every ebony sliver of pungent truffle goodness. It’s a diminutive $35 bottle, but I’ve gotten four meals out of it so far, and it’s leaps and bounds better than the “fresh” black truffles I’ve purchased at grocery stores in the past. Like most spices, the aromas in black truffles start fading the moment they come out of the ground. By the time the so called “fresh” truffles arrive at Whole Foods, they’re about as tasty as a shriveled black lump of coal. These ones are shaved and immediately submerged in olive oil to lock in the flavours. This process has a secondary benefit of flavouring the oil as well, so you get a two for one deal of shaved black truffles with black truffle infused oil.
Truffles, eggs, and Asiago cheese in hand, I headed over to the pantry and a nearly empty bag of polenta fell out of the cabinet and onto the counter, spilling golden grains of course ground corn onto the green granite. I cursed my clumsiness for only a moment before I made the serendipitous connection — black truffle and cheese grits with a soft poached egg on top! This is such an easy breakfast it doesn’t need a recipe, but here’s what I did:
Black Truffle & Cheese Grits
1 Tbs vinegar
2 servings of cooked grits
1 Tbs crème fraiche
1 Tbs shaved black truffles in oil + more for garnish (Gourmet Attitude’s truffle carpacio works well)
2 oz shaved aged asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot with about 1.5 inches of water in it to a boil. Add the vinegar and turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Crack the eggs into individual ramekins, then lower the ramekin straight into the water, tipping it underwater, so the egg gently slides out onto the bottom of the pot. Dropping the eggs in from the surface creates turbulence in the water which is how you end up with more foam than egg. As soon as you see the outside of the eggs turn white, turn the heat off, and let the eggs sit in the hot water until they are the desired doneness. You can test for this by prodding it with a blunt object (I use my finger, but the water is pretty hot, so this might not be for everyone). When they are cooked, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate (if they’re stuck to the bottom of the pan, use a thin spatula).
Cook 2 servings of grits (or polenta) in lightly salted water according to the package directions. When the grits are thick and almost done, add the crème fraiche, black truffles and cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Taste it, then and add salt and pepper as needed.
Plate by putting down a layer of grits, topping with a poached egg, sprinkling a little salt and pepper on top along with some chives, and a thin slice of black truffle.