Dipping a crispy toast finger (the French call it a mouillette) in a soft egg yolk has to be one of life's great pleasures. "When I was a kid, I loved it," says Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Evidently, he's still fond of it because he has created an adult version that's elegant enough to serve as a first course at a dinner party: He wraps smoked salmon around half of the toasts and sprinkles the rest with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, so it melts and forms a salty crust when baked.
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Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of sourdough bread, each slice cut into four 4-by-1/2-inch rectangles
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 8 long strips
4 large eggs
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. Fill a medium skillet with water and bring to a boil. Put the bread on a baking sheet and brush all over with olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until crisp. Reserve 8 toasts. Push the remaining 8 toasts on the baking sheet close together and sprinkle the Parmesan on top in a thick layer. Bake for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Wrap the smoked salmon around the remaining 8 toasts.
Reduce the heat under the skillet to moderately low so the water simmers. One at a time, break the eggs into a small bowl and pour them into the simmering water. Cook until the whites are just firm and the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to paper towels and gently blot dry. Put each egg in a small, warmed bowl. Serve immediately with the Parmesan and smoked salmon toasts.
Champagne goes remarkably well with eggs (not to mention smoked salmon), thanks to its palate-cleansing acidity and spritely flavors.
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