Chef Patrick O’Connell. All photos courtesy of The Inn at Little Washington.
This year, The Inn at Little Washington is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Just weeks after the Inn opened in 1978, a DC restaurant reviewer wrote: ”Once in a great while there comes along a restaurant so good that you worry. You ask yourself, was everything that happened a series of fortunate flukes? Or, if it’s that good, will it crumble under the pressure of success?” Since then, the Inn and Chef Patrick have won five James Beard awards, two Michelin stars and this year became the longest tenured 5 Star and 5 Diamond restaurants in the world. For information about 40th-anniversary events, go to theinnat40.com or to make reservations, go to theinnatlittlewashington.com.
Egg in an Egg with Morels and Asparagus
- ½ bunch asparagus, cleaned and cut on a bias
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup (about 6-7 ounces) wild morel mushrooms, thoroughly cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon diced shallots
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 7 eggs
- 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives
Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Drop the bias cut asparagus into the boiling water and cook, uncovered, until tender – about 45 seconds. Remove the asparagus immediately and refresh in the ice water until completely chilled. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Step 2: In a medium-sized skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped morel mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots and blanched asparagus and sauté for 1 minute more. Remove from heat, season with salt and white pepper.
Step 3: Using a sharp pairing knife, slice off the top of each egg. Pour the raw eggs into a chinois or fine mesh strainer. Save the shells, rinse carefully, and set aside.
Step 4: In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl which will rest securely on top of a pot of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, 1 ½ tablespoons of the crème fraîche, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg
Step 5: Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water and stir the eggs with a rubber spatula until they are very lightly scrambled.
Step 6: Remove the eggs from heat. Gently fold in the sautéed morels and asparagus and chopped chives. Pour the scrambled eggs in a pastry bag and pipe into the reserved egg shells. Top each shell with a dollop of the remaining crème fraîche. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 as an appetizer and 4 as a first course.