Recipe by Neil Perry | Rockpool Bar & Grill
4 organic hen eggs
1 small fresh black truffle
8 wafer thin slices of sourdough (crusts off)
125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp clarified butter
200ml chicken stock
1 tbsp crème fraiche
Fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Using a small knife, trim away the dark outer crust of the truffle; reserve the trimmings. Finely shave the truffle with a mandoline or slicer and set aside. Chop the truffle trimmings until fine and mix into the softened butter; season with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of the truffle butter onto each of the bread slices then place the leftover butter into the fridge to cool slightly. Spread the truffle shavings over four of the bread slices, then top each with another buttered slice and press down firmly. You will now have 4 truffle ‘toasts’.
Bring the chicken stock to the boil and allow to reduce by half. Remove from the heat and whisk in the crème fraiche and leftover truffle butter until they have been incorporated. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Heat a large pan with the clarified butter until hot. Add the truffle toasts and fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from the heat and drain on paper towel.
Heat a large pot of water with some white vinegar until boiling. Reduce the heat to just below a simmer and poach the eggs for 2–3 minutes until just set. Drain the eggs on paper towel.
Place the truffle toast onto a plate and gently place the egg on top. Spoon the truffle sauce over the egg and give a good grind of white pepper.
Friend & Burrell is Australia’s leading procurer and supplier of the highest quality, carefully graded, seasonal fresh truffles from Australia, Spain, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and France. It supplies the world’s best truffles to restaurants in Australia and beyond.
Collaborators with Australia’s leading truffle farmers in Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria – and more recently in Spain and Hungary – Friend & Burrell has extensive, specialist experience and understanding of truffles: the fungal fruits which have mystified and intoxicated living beings since ancient times with their warm fragrance and earthy, musky, pungent complexity. Simon and Bryan share a view that every truffle requires careful assessment of appearance, feel, aroma, flavour, moisture, texture and overall condition before it’s introduced to any kitchen. Not every “pearl of the earth” is worthy of being a “diamond of the kitchen”. Simon Friend has a clear eye, a keen nose and a sharp trimming knife, assessing truffles, or parts of truffles, worthy of any kitchen’s attention.
During the early weeks of the European winter season, the time of the white truffle, the “trifola d’Alba Madonna” (“Truffle of the White Mother”), famously found in Alba in the Piedmont region of northern Italy as well as other parts of Europe, Friend & Burrell sources the most beautiful white truffles, naturally fruiting in national parks and forests on the Istria peninsula, Croatia, and in Slovenia along the Dragonja and Rizana rivers. In later weeks of the European winter season (usually after Christmas), it procures fresh Tuber Melanosporum truffles from Spain.
Never hesitate to inquire about available truffles. Mother Nature is in charge of the fruits of each season – Friend & Burrell procures the highest quality truffles available at any time within a season and grades them with an appropriate price scale. They also hold excellent quality frozen Australian Tuber Melanosporum truffles, available all year and as intoxicating and delicious as their fresh siblings.
Who’d ever have thought that in 2017, the eggs of a female fish, a “living fossil” of prehistoric origin, treasured since ancient times, would remain the world’s most luxurious, gastronomic indulgence?
Caviar, salt-cured fish eggs of particular sturgeon, has been a signature dish on royal and aristocratic tables throughout the ages, the ingredient of choice of the famous Shahs of Iran, Casanova, James Bond and Jackie O, symbolic of fertility and life, has been revered as the most luxurious delicacy since the Greek Dark Age right through to this third millennium.
Female sturgeon, relatively late sexual maturers, can carry up to 40kg of eggs, requiring highly specialised and sensitive extraction in order to produce high quality caviar. The three sturgeon species which produce distinctive caviar are these: Sevruga, the smallest, followed by Osietra and then the gracious, most treasured elder, the great Beluga, a gigantic fish that can weigh as much as 1,200 kg, measure five metres and live for 100 years.
Despite being one of the oldest families on the planet, survivors over millions of years (older than dinosaurs), many of the 26-27 anadromous sturgeon fish species are now vulnerable to extinction by reason of human activities: overfishing, interruption of migratory routes, poaching and pollution. Several species are now the subject of international regulatory and quota protection. Unfortunately, illegal harvesting of sturgeons, seen as the “gold-mining” of fishing activity, remains an active, global criminal enterprise, a lucrative black market commodity.
It’s in this context that most (sometimes all) legally produced caviar in the world today is farmed by specialist aquaculture operators outside of the traditional wild source of the Caspian Sea. Specialist farming is now essential for the survival of many sturgeon species, providing protection from endangering threats and an ideal habitat enabling the fish to live long enough, and well enough, to reproduce.
It’s easy to appreciate why Mother Nature’s producers of these regal berries, these beautiful black, grey and green pearls for the palate, are more precious than ever. Friend & Burrell is uncompromising in its respect for these mighty “living fossils”. The well-being of the sturgeons is essential in terms of quality as well as sustainability – as the quality of Champagne begins in the vineyard, the well-being of sturgeons determines the quality of caviar.
Simon Friend’s background in fishing, coming from an experienced fishing family, is key to Friend & Burrell’s choice of caviar. It’s in this context that Friend & Burrell chooses to exclusively distribute Caviar Giaveri – a true connoisseur’s caviar – where Russian art meets Italian taste.
Caviar Giaveri meets our high standards of excellence in flavour as well as farming methods. Giaveri farms and transforms its own caviar entirely in its northern Italian fish farms, an ideal habitat for thriving sturgeons. Salting is carried out by the traditional Russian Malossol method (minimal salt); the roe is carefully selected by hand and packed manually in a controlled environment. This is a meticulous artisanal process, a ritual that is perpetuated to maintain high standards of excellence over time. All the sturgeons bred by Caviar Giaveri are direct genetic lines from the Caspian, producing caviar of delicate flavor, clean and beautifully rounded on the palate.
Friend & Burrell is an exclusive distributor of Caviar Giaveri’s pure Siberian, Osietra and Beluga/Siberian caviar. The Siberian caviar is appreciated by connoisseurs for its resemblance to the black eggs of Sevruga and its slightly more robust salt profile. The Osietra has perfect identical grains, with a brownish hue and a more delicate refined flavor. The beautiful Beluga/Siberian caviar is characterised by grandeur: the largest eggs, minimal salting, leaving the Queen of Caviar to speak for herself.
A few tips: caviar can be eaten on its own, using mother-of-pearl spoons, wooden spoons or off the back of your hand between your thumb and index finger, next to your glass of Champagne (no metal as it can affect the flavour). Caviar is vulnerable to oxidisation so open it immediately before eating. Serve it on a bed of ice… and eat on its own or with lightly buttered toasted bread, blinis or on your scrambled eggs on top of a dollop of creme fraiche, simple and delicious. It’s very important to keep caviar in the coldest part of your fridge, not in the freezer. The optimal storage temperature is zero degrees. You’re welcome to contact us if we can ever help you with storage, serving or eating advice.
After many years of prohibition, the king of hams, Jamon Iberico Bellota, from the most famous producer in Spain, Joselito, is now available in Australia.
Whilst there are many different types of Spanish jamons, ham that is labelled ‘Bellota’ is the best. Bellota is Spanish for ‘acorn’ and is the main part of the pigs’ diet during the fattening period.
The Art Of Tasting A Joselito
Before starting to carve a Joselito ham it is very important to become familiar with all of its different parts:
- Maza: the thickest part, meat infiltrated by fine fat veins.
- Babilla: much leaner, thus, slightly drier.
- Codillo: fibrous and intermingled with fine tendons, but very sweet and scented.
- Punta: with a concentration of salt superior to the rest and with a more noticeable aroma.
Moreover, you will need a useful “jamonero” made of wood or metal on which you will place the ham. You will also need two knives.
- Cuchillo de jamón: the classic one. Long, narrow and flexible, with a rounded end and perfectly sharpened in order to cut very thin slices.
- Cuchillo auxiliar: to open the ham and remove the hard crust.
The Carving Step-By-Step
- A complete incision should be made around the “codillo” (knuckle), from where you should start removing the tough crust from the piece.
- You will remove, little by little, the external fat that covers the ham until you arrive at the reddish meat, leaving a layer of fat of approximately a finger-thick.
- The ham will be first carved around the “babilla”, that is to say, the narrowest central part.
- You should always carve uniformly.
- As you get deeper, you should remove the fat from the side part of the ham and keep it for later use to conserve the ham.
- The carving area will be getting wider as you deepen and approach the bone.
- In order to preserve the ham, you should cover the cut with the fat you had reserved. Then cover it with gauze or a cloth; in this way, you will prevent the ham from getting too parched.
- Once you arrive at the bone, you will proceed to turn the ham over and start carving the thickest part, that is, the “maze”.
- With the same fat you used to cover the ham, you will rub the cutting surface when you finish carving. The fat of the ham is the best protection.
- As you approach the bone, the carving will be getting more and more intricate but you can still get much ham from these fine parts.
Osietra Caviar – The Iranian style caviar
Origin: Italy – Farmed
Fish: Acipenser gueldenstaedtii sturgeon Caspian Sea native sturgeon
Caviar: Osietra – Malossol – Unpasteurised
Colour: Light brown to brown green
Size: large 2.8mm
Texture: Very firm to firm juicy grains
Notes: Nutty with marine notes
Available in 30 and 250 gram tins
Beluga Caviar – the most exclusive
For the first time since 2008 fresh Beluga caviar is available again on the Australian market
Origin: Italy – Farmed
Fish: Hybrid Husso husso & Acipenser baerii Sturgeon
Caviar: Beluga/Siberian Malossol – Unpasteuriezed
Colour: grey to dark grey
Size: very large 3mm
Notes: slightly salted, fresh walnut, cream.
Available in 30 gram tins
Siberian Caviar – The russian style caviar
Excellent value for money authentic Russian style Caviar
Origin: Italy – Farmed
Fish: Acipenser baerii sturgeon (Siberian Sea & Volga native fish)
Caviar: Siberian – Malossol Not pasteurised
Colour: Light grey
Size: medium 2.6mm
Texture: Medium soft to firm
Notes: Fresh walnut & hazelnut
Available in 30 and 250 gram tins
All caviars are farmed and sourced in sustainable Sturgeon farms in Europe. The Osietra and Beluga/Siberian caviars are farmed in Italy.
All caviars are imported in accordance with the national and international standards. It means that it will be imported under a valid CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) issued by the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
A copy of the export and import CITES can be provided to retailers and venues.
The Ibérico Black-Foot Pig
The Ibérico pig is a descendant of the wild boar and is the last remaining free-grazing breed in Europe.
The following features are what define an Ibérico pig and differentiate it from other breeds:
> Fine, long hindquarters
> A long defined snout
> Forward pointing ears, with a tendency to flop forwards over the eye
> A high, arched ribcage
> Capacity to infiltrate large quantities of fat in its muscles
> A tendency to fatty flesh
The Ibérico Pig’s Natural Habitat
The Ibérico pig’s habitat is the pastureland known as the ‘dehesa’. The dehesa, an ecosystem halfway between forest and grassland, is one of the most typical and beautiful features of the Iberian landscape.
The acorn, which is the fruit of Holm, Cork and Gall Oaks, is the basis of the pigs’ diet, and these oak woods make up the pastureland.
The pigs thrive and grow in the dehesa. They feed from it and contribute to its conservation thanks to the success of Ibérico pork products.
It is in southwest Spain where we find the acorn-bearing dehesas and the Joselito ranches. Joselito raise and fatten up their own herds, having 100% control over the production process from beginning to end.
Born and raised in the countryside, these pigs stay in the dehesa until they are ready for slaughter. Rearing starts when the piglet stops relying on its mother for food, with the piglet weighing approximately 10-12kgs. This continues until it weighs about 23kgs.
Rearing and feeding are entirely traditional with a diet based only on natural products. As June and July approach, the pigs’ diet is restricted in order to start controlling their weight and the levels of fat.
During the fattening stage, known as the ‘montanera’, the pigs graze freely and feed on acorns found beneath the trees. This particular diet reaches its peak between the months of November and January (the acorn season), and is complemented with fresh grass, roots and aromatic herbs.
The constant exercise taken by the pigs as they search for acorns throughout the montanera is one of the determining factors of the excellent quality and the tenderness of the meat. (Plus, the exercise distributes the fat throughout the muscle giving the meat the marbled effect typical of a good ibérico product.)
The animals chosen for the montanera, are the most developed and mature animals, for two reasons:
> Having stopped growing, any food the pigs eat will turn into fat. Due to their diet this will be primarily made up of acorns and it is this that gives the end product its distinctive flavour and aroma.
> The animals are strong and capable of surviving the autumn and winter months in the open countryside.
The long and slow curing process sets Iberian ham apart from all others. It usually starts at the coldest point of winter so as to be able to take advantage of the gradual increase in temperature leading up to late summer. During the winter months, cold mountain winds blow onto the hams while in direct contrast, during the hot summer, the hams sweat and shed a significant proportion of their weight in fat.
It is not until the following winter that the final slow process of ageing takes place in the dark silent cellars. Here, the darkness, humidity and temperature are perfect for the completion of the curing process, allowing the hams’ unique flavour and aroma to develop fully.
The Secret Of The Taste
This comes about as a result of the combination of four key elements:
> Cárnicas Joselito own large areas of land where they breed stock of guaranteed origin.
> The natural, balanced diet is the key to the exquisite sensory quality of the meat.
> The production and curing process is traditional and therefore typically slow.
> Only the best hams are selected, uniform in their supreme shape and excellent aroma.
Fratelli Galloni S.p.A. is a specialized Italian company that has been producing high quality Parma prosciutto since 1938.
Among the 200 ham producers belonging to the “Consortium of Parma Prosciutto”, Fratelli Galloni S.p.A. has always distinguished itself by using the traditional processing methods as a means to safeguard the high quality of real Italian prosciutto: the salting is still carried out by hand, the smearing is repeated twice, or even three times if necessary, and the ageing takes place in cellars where ventilation is almost completely natural.
The raw materials come exclusively from selected farms, growing “mature” heavy pigs of national breeds , fed naturally and subject to the most rigorous health controls. This ensures the product they obtain is a large-sized prosciutto, suitable for a long ageing (at least 24 months instead of the 12 months minimum required for Parma prosciutto) and having the lowest possible salt content. Along with that they also feature the sweetness, fragrance and taste identifying the very best Parma prosciutto.
Thanks to its rigorous work and tight controls, Fratelli Galloni has been given the permit to export to countries like the United States and Japan, known for the strictness of their health regulations. They are the first exporters of Parma prosciutto to these countries.
Galloni’s customers are high quality delis and renown restaurants in Italy and abroad, such as “La Corte Di Montenapoleone” – Milan; “Harry’s Bar” – Venice; “Villa D’Este” – Cernobbio; “Harrod’s” Department Store – London; “Balducci’s”, “Citarella’s”, “Grace’s Marketplace”, “Dean & Deluca” and “Cipriani” – New York, and many of Australia’s very best restaurants.
For futher information please visit the Fratelli Galloni website.
Vanilla planifolia is indigenous to Mexico, where it is pollinated by native humming birds; however when transplanted to other parts of the tropical world, the orchid blooms are pollinated by hand. This handling, along with the extensive time taken for drying and processing, makes vanilla expensive.
Vanilla is presently grown in quantity in Madagascar, Tahiti, Indonesia, Mexico and Mauritius.
We have sourced from New Guinea the very best vanilla we can find – 18.5 cm long, plump, pliable and juicy, dark chocolate brown/ black in colour and with an intense vanilla aroma.
The beans are sold in 250gm, 500gm or 1kg packs – Buy now!
Jamón Serrano (literally sierra (mountain) ham) is a dry-cured Spanish ham, which is generally served raw in thin slices, similar to the Italian prosciutto, and is a source of great pride among Spaniards. From time immemorial in the mountains of Spain, they have rolled fresh hams in sea salt and hung them from their rafters to cure. The fresh hams are trimmed and cleaned, then stacked and covered with salt for about two weeks in order to draw off excess moisture and preserve the meat from spoiling. A year to eighteen months later the jamones are ready to mount on special stands that are designed so that anyone can stop by, carve a few paper-thin slices, and enjoy an impromptu snack – perhaps with some manchego cheese.
It is unlike the smoked and salty Virginia country hams, which have to be soaked and cooked. And it is even significantly different from Italian prosciutto, which is cured for a few months with a coating of lard. The Spanish jamon Serrano has distinctly more flavour, and significantly less salt than country ham and less fat than prosciutto.
Jamón Serrano is more than a delicacy in Spain; it is a normal part of every family’s life. Every tapas bar and neighbourhood café has their own hams. During the Holiday Season there are literally hundreds of them hanging from the rafters of major food stores for the holiday shoppers.
What is the appeal? Jamon Serrano is a flavourful, natural ham, cured in the country air. This extended curing transforms the ham, imparting a deep flavour and aroma. This lengthy curing also means it is much less fatty and has a firmer bite than Italian prosciutto. You can serve it sliced paper-thin with cheese and olives, or use it to flavour your favourite Spanish recipes.
The secret to jamon lies in its curing, recreating the effect of traditional techniques. This tradition is kept alive in rural areas where in early winter, family and friends gather to slaughter their livestock in preparation for winter months. The hams are placed in sea salt for a brief period of time – approximately one day per kilo – and then they are strung up. They are allowed to experience the changes of temperature as the seasons progress. The drying sheds (secaderos) are usually built at higher elevations, which is why the ham is called mountain ham.
The right time to eat them is when an experienced ham-master inserts a long splinter of cow bone and whiffs the jamon, like a connoisseur of wine who sniffs the cork.