Nobody knows the inside of an animal quite like chef and meat enthusiast Chris Cosentino, who helms Cockscomb in San Francisco and restaurants in Portland and Napa. His latest cookbook, Offal Good, is a dense, delicious collection of recipes for his well-known favorite parts. Get ready to make “brain on drugs,” an egg and brain dish that has almost nothing in common with that cheesy 80s-era anti-drug PSA (in a good way).
I thought the anti-drug PSAs that aired on TV in the late 1980s were funny as hell: a deep, dark voice-over, a hand holding an egg, cracking it into a pan and letting it bubble and burn. This dish is an homage to those commercials.
- 1 calf's brain, about 1 pound
- 1 quart Court Bouillon, or stock of choice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- coarsely ground black pepper
- coarse salt
- 1 duck egg
- 1 thick slice country bread, grilled or toasted
- 3 parsley leaves
- 3 chervil leaves
- 6 tarragon leaves
- 6 Chive batons
- sherry vinegar, to taste
- Black or white truffles, as much as you like
For the brain
To poach the brain, fill a small pot with court bouillon, bring to a boil, and turn it down to a simmer so it’s lightly bubbling. Gently place the brain into the water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the brain from the court bouillon with a perforated spoon and set it on a plate. Cover and put the plate in the refrigerator to cool for about 15 minutes. (The brain may be stored at this point and finished later.)
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter, season the brain with salt and pepper, then sear the poached brain, presentation-side (a.k.a. the top of the brain) down. Baste with the fat until golden brown, about 4 minutes, then flip over, continuing to baste, until it is hot all the way through.
In a separate pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the duck egg sunny-side up. Season the top of the egg with black pepper and coarse salt.
Place the brain on top of the egg white. Top with the herbs and a few drops of sherry vinegar. Shave on as much truffle as you’d like. Serve with a crisp glass of Sancerre and the bread.