4eggs8sheets Sardinian flatbread (see note)2 tbspfinely sliced basil leaves150 gmaged Pecorino Sardo, gratedFor drizzling:extra-virgin olive oilMutton stock (brodo di pecora)1 kgmutton bones, chopped (ask your butcher to do this)1½carrots, roughly chopped½large onion, roughly chopped1celery stalk, roughly chopped3Roma tomatoes, quartered2 tsptomato paste3fresh bay leaves½bunch flat-leaf parsley, torn10black peppercornsPassata20 mlextra-virgin olive oil¼onion, finely diced1garlic clove, finely diced1 kgvery ripe tomatoes, chopped3basil sprigs, leaves picked, torn
For mutton stock, place bones in a stockpot or large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil, then strain and rinse well. Return mutton bones to a clean stockpot or large saucepan, cover with about 3 litres of fresh cold water – the bones should be completely submerged – then bring to the boil. Reduce heat, skim off any froth that rises to the surface, then add remaining ingredients and ¼ tsp sea salt flakes and simmer for 6-8 hours, skimming regularly to prevent the stock from going cloudy. If the liquid level drops so that the ingredients are uncovered, top up with a little cold water. Set aside to cool, then ladle through a sieve lined with muslin, discarding solids.
Meanwhile, for passata, heat a saucepan over low-medium heat, add oil and, when hot, add onion and garlic and cook until soft but not coloured. Add tomato and basil, season to taste and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomato has completely broken down into a thick sauce (1 hour). If it dries out so much that it starts to stick, add a couple of tablespoons of water to loosen it up. Pass the tomato sauce through a mouli (see note), discarding skins and seeds. Store covered and refrigerated for a couple of days, or pack into sterilised jars and store in a cool, dark place for several months.
Place passata in a saucepan and bring to the simmer. Keep warm over low heat.
Combine 1 litre stock (freeze remainder for another use) and 1 tsp sea salt flakes in a small saucepan and bring to the simmer. Crack an egg into a cup and carefully slide it into the simmering stock. Repeat with a second egg. Cook eggs for 3 minutes then remove, using a slotted spoon, and place on paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
Transfer stock to a large, tall saucepan over low heat. Using tongs, dip a sheet of Sardinian flatbread in and out of the hot stock to just soften it. Place on a platter and spread about 4 tbsp of the passata over the top. Scatter about 1 tsp of the basil and 3 tbsp of the pecorino on top of this. Dip another sheet of Sardinian flatbread in the hot stock, place it on top of the pecorino,
top with more passata, basil and pecorino and continue the layering, finishing with a final layer of pecorino and a scattering of basil. Cut the stack into quarters, top each quarter with a poached egg, then place on plates. Drizzle with oil and serve.
Note Sardinian flatbread, pane carasau, is a thin, crisp
double-baked bread unique to Sardinia. It's available from Icnussa
Imports, Lario International, Simon Johnson (where it may be
labelled carta di musica) and Pilu at Freshwater, and select other
Italian delicatessens. When you're softening the bread, don't worry
if some of the sheets break - just reassemble them in the stack.
Passata is difficult to make without a mouli, but you could pass it
through a sieve, pressing down with a ladle to extract as much
liquid as possible. (Do not use a blender or food processor as it
will pulverise the tomato seeds and spoil the flavour and colour.)
When you drop the egg into the stock to poach it, the weight of the
yolk pulls it down and the lighter white wraps up around the yolk
enclosing it - in Italian this is called "in camicia" ("in a
This recipe is from the September 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet
A Sardinian Cookbook by Giovanni Pilu and Roberta Muir is published
by Lantern, $49.99, hbk. This extract has been reproduced with
minor GT style changes.
"This delicious dish using pane carasau is a quick,
substantial one-dish meal for hungry shepherds or farmworkers.
Typically, they would go out early in the morning and come back
about 9.30 for a hearty breakfast that went into the centre of the
table for everyone to share. I remember going hunting, leaving at
4.30am after just a coffee and a grappa, then stopping a couple of
hours later for a big breakfast like this - followed by a late
lunch after the hunting. In a couple of towns they use a sugo di
carne (a ragù) instead of the passata to create a richer dish, and
I like to add a little basil or parsley. (If your bunch of basil
has any flowers, keep them to sprinkle over the pane frattau as a
garnish.) I think this makes a great brunch dish."
At A Glance
Serves 4 people
At A Glance
Serves 4 people
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