Friday, February 17, 2012
Recipes: Who's Up for Salted Duck Egg Pasta?
It seems unnerving but, believe me, it works. The first time I had salted duck egg pasta was at Margarita Fores’ now-defunct Pepato in Greenbelt 2. I was unyielding in my praise for it, and when that restaurant closed I believed that was it- goodbye forever. Then, I encountered a different version at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza in Katipunan- Salted Egg and Bacon Pasta, which was equally rich and beguiling.
Salted duck eggs are commonly used in Chinese and Filipino dishes, imparting a brine-y aroma, with a smooth, creamy egg white and a hard, textured red-orange yolk. I grew up eating salted egg and tomato salad with silog dishes and grilled food, immediately putting my already hyperactive taste buds on overdrive. It is a bit of an acquired taste, but once you have it as accompaniment to the perfect dish, you’ll be hooked for sure.
And ever since I had a taste of it again in a pasta dish, I just knew I had to try making it at home. I chose to make the more “Matt-friendly” (read: no pork) Pepato version, but a more rustic take on the Fores original. Instead of thin sheets of papardelle, I used tagliatelle, and had my 5-year-old niece roughly break the asparagus apart instead of finely chopping them. Generous chunks of salted duck egg dot the dish- a salty treat for the fan that could not get enough. It’s exotic and looks impressive, plus it only takes around ten minutes to cook. What else could possibly be stopping you?
Tagliatelle with Onion Cream, Salted Duck Egg, Asparagus and Truffle Oil (serves 4 to 6)
250 g. Tagliatelle (or any flat pasta)
2 cups cooking cream
1 small white onion, finely chopped
A handful of baby asparagus, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
3 salted duck eggs, (2 eggs mashed into a paste, 1 roughly chopped into cubes)
2 teaspoons truffle oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Grated parmesan, to garnish
Salt and pepper
-Cook the tagliatelle according to package instructions. When it says cook for six minutes, I usually do four or five.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and cook the onions in the olive oil. When the onions are translucent, toss the asparagus into the pan.
- Pour in the cream and mix in the salted duck egg paste. Lower the heat and season with nutmeg, salt (if needed, the eggs are already salty) and pepper. Let it simmer for two minutes.
- Toss the cooked pasta in the pan, top with the cubed eggs, and mix gently until the sauce is evenly integrated. Remove from the fire and then drizzle the truffle oil on top and mix.
- Garnish with some grated parmesan and serve immediately.