They say that a great cook is one who has mastered the egg. I am not a great cook by any means, but I do love eggs no matter how they are cooked.
When given the opportunity to learn how to cook the ‘Absolute egg’ (uovo assoluto) and ‘Egg 61’ (uovo 61) by the notorious egg master himself, Paolo Parisi, I was beside myself.
We pulled up to a beautiful, charming farm house called Azienda Le Macchie in the outskirts of Pisa. There Paolo and his family run a farm filled with hens, goats, cows and ancient Tuscan pigs called cinta senese. You will also find a few dogs running around.
Upon entering his home I stepped directly into his kitchen. A sort of organized chaos. Rows and rows of pots and pans covered the ceiling. Paolo doesn’t seem to have just one ladle or just one whisk, but 6 or more of each type of utensil imaginable. Let’s not forget his ovens, as in plural.
Paolo Parisi was warm and welcoming. His eggs are renowned in the culinary world for having amazing yolk, which are due to the goat’s milk that is fed to Paolo’s hens. I hope to find his products in gourmet stores around Italy and in some well known restaurants.
Paolo got right to it, starting with the ‘Egg 61’. This special dish, more like a shot, is based on an egg that is slowly cooked for at least 20 minutes in a warm bath of water that’s 61 degrees celsius. 141.8 fahrenheit for my fellow Americans. Once we pulled the egg from its bath he broke it and poured the egg white and contained yolk into an egg container, using it as a cup.
The ‘Egg 61’ was then sprinkled with sea salt, one caper, a slice of lemon peel and a small piece of sun dried tomato topped with a dash of herbs. I closed my eyes and took a shot. In order to savor the moment I drank this delicate dish in two swigs. I tasted a creamy, buttery yolk that made my eyes roll back. I wanted more…
Next up, the ‘Absolute Egg’. This was not revolutionary, but completely ingenious. The key to an absolute egg, besides the quality, is to first cook the egg white, then softly drop in the yolk.
Paolo poured some oil in a hot pan, poured the egg white in and let it cook for a bit. Then added some grated parmesan and later topped it with the yolk. The perfect sunny side up! Don’t forget a dash of salt and freshly grated pepper.
We devoured this dish with fresh whole wheat country bread that was cut up and used to dip into the yolk and to collect the rest of the egg white, cheese and oil. It’s a fun community dish that I would love to reenact for dinner guests.