It's week 398577 of lockdown and I have to admit as much as I have loved honing my culinary skills and researching recipes, a little bit of cooking fatigue has begun to set in (God damn all I want to do really is go to a restaurant where I don't have to do the washing up and someone makes and serves me a cocktail), so this Friday I wanted something relatively easy yet tasty to make. Even better then that in the case of this indulgent truffle egg toast the dish also reminded me of one of my favourite London restaurants back in my uni days, Spuntino, as this was their signature dish.
Spuntino was THE hipster hot spot when it opened during my second or third year at UCL in 2011. It was bang in the middle of Soho, on a dodgy side street and next to a couple of sex shops with no signage. Inside it was all exposed bricks and low lights, waiters were covered in tattoos and not bad on the eye, and the food served was luxe takes on American junk food classics - think mac n cheese, sliders, deep fried olives and of course their infamous truffled egg toast, all served on enamel metal plates, while you perched around their bar and sipped on an overpriced Negroni (oh how I miss overpriced cocktails sigh...).
I spent many evenings and a big proportion of my student loan here, laughing with friends, sobering up with all the carbs after an evening out in Soho and on the occasional bad date but as is with everything in life eventually I moved on. Spuntino no longer was the coolest spot in town, the queues to get in were getting ridiculous and it was by then in just about in any London guide book so inevitably rammed with tourists. As a whole the culinary scene in London was also moving eastwards and sadly late last year Spuntino shut it's doors for now.
I will forever have the fondest memories of the place and particularly the truffled egg toast is something I had craved many times since my last visit there which is why I simply had to make it at home when I stumbled across the recipe for it online. And WOW it literally was like I was back at Spuntino. This is total truffle heaven and so easy to make so that if you do one bit of cooking this weekend make it this, even if you never made it to Spuntino yourself.
If possible try to source some fontina (a good deli will have it) but Gruyere or Emmenthal will do the same trick and get an unsliced loaf of white sandwich bread as you will need a big old chunk for this.
For a hot second while eating this I was back in that filled little dive bar, enjoying London's vibrant dining scene that I can't wait to delve back into when this is all over but in the meantime this will do!
- 1 thick slice of square white bread
- 80g fontina cheese, grated
- 2 medium free-range egg yolks
- 1 tsp truffle oil
- flaky sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Lightly toast the bread on both sides.
- Put the bread on a tray. Use a very sharp knife to carefully cut a shallow well into the centre of the bread, about a 5cm/2in square. To do this cut the edges and push down the centre. Remember this is a well not a hole. It is important that you don’t cut all the way through!
- Distribute the fontina evenly around the rim of the well.
- Mix the yolks together with the truffle oil and pour them into the well then bake for 3-5 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Take the toast out and give the yolk a little stir then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Eat immediately.