Spinach & Roasted Garlic Custards with Truffles

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Earlier this month, I was able to fulfill a major item on my bucket list: finding truffles! Many of you already know what a rabid forager I am, but I’ve never had the experience of finding the illusive truffle. Although, with full disclosure, I did find one in Oregon in early March…I’ll tell you that story another time.

But, this month, our truffle hunt was so successful that I went into a flurry of “what can I do with this bounty?” The first night, I decadently just shaved an entire (small) truffle onto our perfectly cooked scrambled eggs. Then, I started infusing things. Again, how this all came to be is going to be another story, so when that’s written, I’ll share that link.

Anyhow, one of the fun experiments I made was this custard. It started with the idea I was given on infusing uncooked eggs in their shells with the scent of truffles. It’s really simple. Just take your eggs, place them in an airtight container with a truffle in it, let them sit in the refrigerator for a few days and voila! Infused eggs.

Then, the trick is what to do with them. Truffles do not respond to heating very well — you pretty much lose the flavor if you subject them to a too-high heat. But a custard, which cooks in a ramekin placed in a water bath (bain marie in French), doesn’t really get so hot that you lose the truffle flavor. So, I made a classic custard, using those decadently-infused eggs, some fresh spinach and roasted garlic.

And, how did it turn out? Freaking heavenly! Just to take these little guys over the top, I shaved some more truffle on top and drizzled with a little fruity extra virgin olive oil. Yum, yum…and more yum!

In the photos, you’ll see I used two different shapes of ramekins. Here’s a link to some really good, but reasonably priced ones that will provide a nice shape when you unmold them. If you want to get a little fancier with some interesting shapes, I like these from M. Gastro Kitchens or you can use tall cylinders as well.

If you can find your own truffles, don’t worry. There are commercial sources you can get them from such as Truffle Dog Company or D’Artagnan Foods. Remember, a little goes a long way!

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Spinach and Roasted Garlic Custards with Truffles

A surprisingly simple, but elegant side dish that combines fresh spinach, truffle-infused eggs and roasted garlic resulting in a creamy, luxurious flavor combo that is an amazing complement to any meat or fish dish.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: black truffles, custard, how to find truffles, hunting truffles, roasted garlic custards, savory custards, shipboardchef, truffle dog company, truffle recipes, truffles
Servings: 6 servines
Author: Corinne Gregory Sharpe

Equipment

  • small ramekins or custard dishes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups firmly packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lg truffle infused eggs (see note)
  • 1 Tbsp roasted garlic, finely mashed (see note)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • extra virgin olive oil (for garnish)
  • shaved fresh black truffle (see note)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter or spray six 3/4-cup ramekins and place in a 13"x9" baking pan or glass casserole dish.
  • Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Bring cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove the cream from heat, then add spinach, salt and pepper, stirring until spinach wilts (about 1-2 minutes). Place saucepan in the ice water bath, stirring to rapidly cool mixture.
  • When spinach/cream mixture is cool, pour it into blender. Add truffle-infused eggs and roasted garlic. Blend until spinach is pureed and custard is smooth.
  • Divide custard among prepared ramekins. Pour enough hot water into baking dish to come up 1/2 way up sides of ramekins.
  • Bake custards until gently set in center, rotating pan after 30 minutes. Bake time is about 55 minutes total.
  • When set, remove custards from the oven, letting then rest for 5 minutes before trying to unmold. Run a knife around edges of ramekins to loosen, then turn onto plates. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with shaved black truffle before serving.

Notes

NOTE: While the truffle-infused eggs are not required, they do add to the character of the dish. To infuse eggs, place uncooked eggs in their shells in an airtight container along with your truffle (you can use this to shave onto your custards just before service). Let truffle sit with the eggs 2-3 days before using in the recipe.
To roast garlic, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Peel most of the loose papery skin from the head of garlic. Cut 1/3 off the top of the garlic and place on a square of foil, bending the foil up around the base to hold it steady. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes. After 30 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelized flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age. For this recipe, you’ll want the garlic to be soft, but not deep brown as it’s flavor is too strong for the subtle custard if it’s carmelized.

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