A Recipe for Romance

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for those employed in the culinary world. The Dining Room in particular sees increased bookings on the day of love because we are often viewed as a special-occasion restaurant. This year we are expecting to seat more than 100 guests and I have already been hard at work finalizing the menu with my team.

On February 14, we will offer an eight-course tasting menu, designed to be shared. One of the first courses on the agenda for the evening will be Scrambled Truffled Eggs with Dungeness Crab and Brioche. This is a great time of year for Dungeness crab, so this plate seemed a natural fit for the Valentine’s Day dinner.

About a week before I even consider preparing this dish, I place the eggs in a container with the truffles. Eggs are quite porous, so when stored together with the truffles they entrap the scent and really pick up the flavor of the underground fungi. There are varying schools of thought on this method, as I know some chefs who do not allow their truffles to keep company with any other ingredient, as it can draw some of the flavor out of the truffle. However, I have also heard of some chefs storing the truffles with rice. I prefer the eggs because I find that they carry the flavor quite nicely. One trick I like to play with is making pasta out of the truffle-flavored eggs.

As I mentioned, the eggs course will be one of the first to make an appearance on the Valentine’s Day tasting menu. We will also present complementary dishes like oysters and caviar, mixing and matching to exemplify the small bites concept of this particular menu. Another dish that I enjoy experimenting with for this holiday menu is quince jam. Quince is a type of fruit very similar to an apple, but when tasted raw delivers a very tannic flavor. Often the quince is referred to as the love apple because some believe that it was actually the quince, not the apple, which Adam and Eve shared in the Garden of Eden. After peeling the fruit, I cook it down with honey and sugar and make a jam from it, usually serving it with foie gras or something similarly decadent.

My Valentine’s Day gift to our readers this year is the Scrambled Truffled Eggs with Dungeness Crab and Brioche recipe to share with your sweetie.

Ron Siegel
The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
600 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

Scrambled Truffled Eggs with Dungeness Crab and Brioche
Serves Two

• 4 crab legs, shelled
• 6 eggs
• 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
• 2 teaspoons black truffle, minced
• 4 slices brioche
• 1 ½ tablespoons butter

Store the eggs with a whole black truffle for at least three days to one week at most. Crack eggs into a bowl. Whisk; adding a pinch of salt. Put in sauté pan with one tablespoon of the butter. Cook slowly over a low flame, whisking to the consistency of custard (instead of scrambled eggs). Add crème fraîche when egg mixture is thickened. Add half of the crab legs onto this mixture. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut brioche into rectangles. Heat a pan with the remaining butter. Add brioche to toast on all sides. Set aside.

Take the remaining crab legs and warm in a low oven for one to two minutes. Pour egg mixture equally
into two bowls. Take black truffle, mince, put on top of each egg mixture. Garnish each egg mixture with crab legs on top. Serve with brioche on side.