For my most recent “The Breakdown” for Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, I got to spend some time in the kitchen with Chef Will Uhlhorn at the very popular Nashville French bistro Table 3 Restaurant & Marketplace. Chef Will has a long-standing love affair with French food. Born out of Hamersley’s Bistro, a little French bistro in Boston many years ago, Chef Will finds French food to be “the most beautiful of the food traditions”. For many (myself included), French food is often misunderstood, but Chef Will busts through those misconceptions with his “country/ rustic style of French cooking” that he also lovingly describes as “French Grandma Food”. “Oeufs Sur La Plat” one of the most popular dishes on Table 3’s Sunday Brunch menu embodies all that Chef Will’s passion for French food stands for. Starting with a base of creamed spinach and then topped with moist duck confit, a cured and slow cooked meat, roasted tomatoes and then covered with an egg and finished off with herbed crème fraiche, this dish is an unmatched display of Chef Will’s talents as a French chef and remains true to his home-style cooking a la francaise. “French cooking is very much about the preservation of food. It involves unusual ingredients and the liberal use of fresh herbs and creams, but it doesn’t have to be overly-fussy.” Along with learning some really cool new techniques, I had a major epiphany in that kitchen………I LOVE DUCK! Not sure why I always thought I didn’t, but boy was I wrong! This dish is bursting with flavors of all kind and really showcases what French food is all about. With all the components this dish will take several days to come together, but all the work and waiting is definitely worth it! Mangez bien!
- 2-3 ounces Duck Confit, skin removed and pulled from the bone (recipe in post)
- ½ cup Creamed Spinach (Bechamel recipe in post)
- ¼ cup Roasted Tomatoes, peeled and chopped (recipe in post)
- 1 egg, separated
- 2 tablespoons herbed Crème Fraiche (recipe in post)
- Herbed bread crumbs
- In a cast iron oval baking dish, layer the bottom of the dish with creamed spinach. Top with duck confit and roasted tomatoes. Pour egg white over dish. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Remove and place egg yolk on top of dish. Bake 4-5 minutes more.
- Top with herbed bread crumbs and serve.
The first layer on the “plate” is creamed spinach. This is made by wilting spinach and combining with a creamy Béchamel sauce.
Yields: 2 ½ cups
2 Cups Milk
4 TBSP. butter
4 TBSP. All Purpose flour
Salt to taste
Pepper (using White Pepper) to taste
Sprinkle Nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook the mixture about 2 to 3 minutes or until it turns a light yellow color.
In a separate pan heat the milk.
Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.
Duck confit is a slow cooked duck leg that is cured over a 24-48 hour period. The confit is layered after the creamed spinach and then roasted tomatoes make up the next layer on the “plate”.
(Prepared Duck Confit can be purchased at Table 3 Market)
- 4 duck legs
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 cups duck fat, melted (Can be purchased at Table 3)
Rub the duck legs in salt and sugar, cover and place in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Remove from refrigerator and rinse the duck legs and pat dry. In a very low heated oven (approximately 180 degrees F to 200 degrees F), place duck legs in a deep cooking dish and add duck fat to dish. Cook for 24 hours. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place confit and rendered duck fat from dish in a sealed jar to keep in the refrigerator up to six months or several weeks if placed in a plastic container.
- 1-2 pounds roma tomatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Heat an oven to 200 degrees F. Place all ingredients in a shallow baking dish and toss to coat. Roast for 24 hours. Place in a sealed jar or plastic container to keep in the refrigerator.
Chef Will finely chops the chives to add to the creme fraiche.
Herbed Crème Fraiche
- 4 ounces crème fraiche
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives and parsley
In a small bowl, mix together crème fraiche and herbs. Stir to combine.
The final layer of the dish is an egg. Chef Will suggests separating your egg and cooking the dish with only the egg white until the last 5 minutes of cooking when you will add the yolk. This will keep the yolk from drying out and overcooking.
Lastly the dish is topped with herbed bread crumbs and herbed creme fraiche.
Chef Will Uhlhorn of Table 3 is a pretty cool cat!! Table 3 also has a French market where you can purchase pre-made dishes to go as well as pick up prepared items such as duck confit and other ingredients like rendered duck fat.
The bread and pastries available are prepared daily in the kitchen by Table 3′s pastry chef.