I originally saw a recipe for cheese and truffled egg yolk toast in 2013’s GQ Eats: The cookbook for men of seriously good taste – a valuable guide for experienced home cooks with a zeal for technically-challenging cuisine. Many of the book’s recipes contain upwards of twenty or thirty ingredients, and sometimes demand a whole evening to be set aside in preparation. The toast, then, proves to be somewhat of an anomaly in that it requires very little preparation and cooking time, yet retains much of the elegance and flavour complexity of the book’s more intricate dishes.
Since first trying the recipe, I have been developing and refining the concept, testing different cheeses and other flavour enhancers, before finally settling on this recipe – to my mind the perfect version. From start of prep to plate, it shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes; ideal for a luxurious brunch or snack.
- 1¼ inch thick slice of bread, best cut from a crusty white loaf, bloomer or cob
- 2 oz of sliced Gruyère. Comté, Fontina, Gouda or any other medium-hard cheese will work well too.
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons of white/black truffle oil
- Smoked sea salt
- (Optional) Truffle Butter
- (Optional) A sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the 1¼ inch thick slice of bread on a baking tray, and lightly toast it. In a pre-heated oven, this should take around 2 minutes on each side.
Remove the lightly toasted bread from the oven and hollow out a shallow indentation in the middle, approximately 2½ – 3 inches wide, and half an inch deep.
(Optional) Liberally spread the indentation-side of the toast with truffle butter. This is not absolutely necessary, but it does take the recipe up a notch flavour-wise, and prevents the bread’s periphery from becoming too dry.
Place the slices of Gruyère on both the raised periphery and at the bottom of the indentation of the lightly toasted bread. Then place the Gruyère-covered toast back in the oven. At this stage, you do not want the Gruyère to bubble, so remove from the oven just as the cheese begins to melt, after approximately 2-3 minutes.
Pour the mixture of egg yolk and truffle oil into the toast’s indentation; then place the unbroken egg yolk in the centre of the indentation. Lightly season the unbroken yolk with another small pinch of smoked sea salt.
(Optional) Sprinkle a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top of the toast. Again, this is not absolutely essential, and if you do choose to use Parmesan, exercise restraint: you don’t want it to overwhelm the milder Gruyère.
Place the Gruyère and truffled yolk toast back in the oven until the Gruyère begins to bubble. This should take approximately 3 minutes. Ideally, the colour of the yolk will not have changed; you’re not looking to fully cook the yolk, just to heat it.
Remove the Gruyère and truffled yolk toast from the oven, and use a spatula to place the toast on a plate. Lightly drizzle the toast with a teaspoon of truffle oil, and serve.