Tuesday 27 October 2015

Poached eggs with truffle oil, artichokes and Pecorino cheese

10 minutes to prepare Serves 4




The artichoke is a recent guest at our tables, but it has ancient origins.
According to Greek mythology it is the embodiment of Cynara, a nymph loved by Zeus. Cynara was beautiful and Zeus fell in love with her. She was nice, but also fickle and capricious; therefore Zeus – out of jealousy - turned her into a vegetable, green and thorny. The color of artichoke recalls the green eyes of Cynara, while its thorns recall the pains that Zeus suffered for her. However, this vegetable has a sweet heart like the young girl he was initially in love with.
The name artichoke, "the kharshuf," has Arabic origin: it is a product of the Mediterranean, typical of the south of Italy from the 15th century.
The cooks of the entourage of Catherine de' Medici had the merit of importing to France broccoli, cabbage, and also artichokes. We know that Catherine was fond of artichokes and a chronicler of the time, Pierre De L'estoile, reported in his Journal that once "the Queen Mother ate too much and felt bad as never before because she had too many artichokes and kidneys".

Surely it is an excellent food in terms of nutrition, as it is fat-free and rich in calcium, potassium and fiber; it also contains cynarin, a stimulant of bile secretion: from the infusion of artichokes, indeed, we obtain a pleasant aperitif, the legendary Cynar.

Entering the realm of recipes, culinary tradition is strong in the Rome area where both artichokes "alla giudea" and "alla romana" are prepared. Ingredients usually employed as artichoke partners are EVO oil, salt, garlic and mint: it is all about simplicity.

Today, to enhance the flavor of artichokes, we will combine them with Pecorino cheese, truffle oil and poached eggs.

Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe:

6 raw artichoke hearts
100 g Pecorino cheese
4 eggs
1 lemon
wine vinegar
truffle oil
EVO oil
salt and pepper


  1. In a saucepan bring to boil half a liter of water with salt and 4 tablespoons of wine vinegar
  2. Meanwhile, cut the artichoke hearts into thin slices and sprinkle with lemon juice
  3. Grate Pecorino cheese
  4. Crack one of your eggs into a cup and gently pour it into the water in one fluid movement. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. Cook poached eggs for about 3 minutes, then remove them to some kitchen paper to dry off well
  5. Braise artichoke slices with 2 tablespoons of EVO oil and salt; cook gently perfuming with a pinch of pepper until they become soft and golden
  6. Place some artichokes on each serving plate with 1 poached egg on top. Sprinkle with some grated Pecorino cheese and season with few drops of truffle oil. Hurry up and bring plates to the table!!!

Finally, you find below Nutrition Facts of this dish. Data is provided per serving.

Vous au moins, vous ne risquez pas d'être un légume puisque même les artichauts ont du cœur!*. 
(Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain)

*Surely you are not likely to be a vegetable: even artichokes have hearts!

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