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Tentop has evolved in ways that my faithful readers never would have dreamed at it’s inception, at that is too cool for me to put into words. Our latest dinner however, was a little closer to the basic form we started with. To put it most simply, two guys cooking the food they wanted to cook. We had the fortunate benefit of having Nick Keane on board as our bar tender, and his drinks were the starting point for all the dishes that Michael and I came up with. While my liver may never forgive me for the R&D put in on this menu, I feel it was some of the best food Micheal and I have cooked, and it had to be; to stand up to Nick’s banging concoctions.
The whole menu and pairings were killer, as I hope you can imagine; but I’d like to focus on two dishes. Our entree, Delmonico Steak Frites is a good snapshot of how we approach dish design. Take a classic, in this case two classics, and jam ‘em into something new, something the same but different. Here we started with Steak Rossini, a classic even among the classics, basically filet and seared foie gras. With our typical “we can do better” attitude, we switched out the filet mignon for rib eye, (as we are, in fact, men;) and the seared foie for torchon, because it spreads like butter. We molded the torchon into a fancy flexible mold to get the cool shape. A full rib eye steak seemed a bit much for a multi-coursed meal like this, so at Michael’s suggestion we had it butchered in the Delmonico style by Ian of Tails & Trotters. I know better than to tackle a butchery project like this on my own, and Ian’s skill is widely known. He did such a good job that we ended up cooking the suckers whole, and then sexily slicing them at service. So we’ve got steak, we’ve got foie…how about truffle fries? So yeah, we jammed in yet another classic; Steak frites. Nick came up with the perfect pairing with this, a goose fat washed Manhattan, which had a lingering earthiness to it that rode smoothly underneath the profound richness of this dish. Fuck was it good.
My other favorite of the night was partially due to the pairing, and partially due to the fact that I literally dreamed this dish up. When we tasted through the cocktails the first time, I knew right away I needed to rethink my dessert. This cocktail (originally named the McRittenhouse before Nick settled on Bitter Vieux,) is one of the best I’ve tasted. Thick and syrupy, stirred of course, and perfectly balanced. This drink needed more than a slice of pie next to it. I’d been dicking around a bunch with the Milk Bar cookbook, with mixed results, and the answer eventually came from there…kind of. I had a dream one night, and my better half can verify this, because I woke up spouting gibberish about “the best ice cream sandwich” before rolling over to return to loudly snoring. The dream involved my combining Tosi’s milk crumb recipe with the age-old “crunchy layer” I learned from Chef Tony Martin. I made the crunchy layer, then covered it with the milk crumbs, covered both with a layer of parchment and weighted it down. After it was set I portioned it into rectangles and used it as the “bread” for an ice cream sandwich. In my dream, I did this process countless times. I just kept doing it and doing it until I woke up. Weird huh? Anyway, dreams do come true sometimes, and in this case, thankfully so. Here’s a recipe.
Milk Crumb Crunch
first, make the milk crumbs.
you’ll probably want to double the recipe, it’s a good thing to have around.
then you’ll need:
12 oz of chocolate (I use 64% cocoa barry)
3 cups of feuilletine (if you can’t get feuilletine, you can use an equal amount of ground nuts, corn flakes, potato chips, or any combination there of. Just some crunchy shit you think will taste good in chocolate)
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Prepare a half sheet pan with a silpat.
2. When the chocolate is melted, mix in the feuilletine all at once. Quickly spread the mixture out onto the prepared pan using an offset spatula.
3. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle an even layer of milk crumbs over it. Cover this with parchment and pile on a few half sheets on top to press the two recipes together.
4. Chill until fully set, at least one hour. Bring the pan up to room temperature before portioning into desired shape. How I used it is pictured below, as the cookie in a butter pecan ice cream sandwich. We served it with salted orange caramel and
Bitter Viuex by Nick Keane
1 1/2oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 Laird’s Applejack
3/4 Lillet Blanc
1/4 Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Fees whiskey barrel bitters
- Fill a mixing glass half way with ice.
- Add liquors and other cocktail ingredients.
- Twirl a bar spoon to stir for 20-30 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into a well-chilled glass.
Chef’s and faithful readers the world over have had a long standing obsession with ramen, and not just the instant ramen that has fed countless generations of college students the world over. This Japanese comfort food calls more and more food lovers into it’s ranks yearly, but relatively few have taken the challenge of trying to make their own. David Chang’s expose on the topic in the first issue of Lucky Peach magazine recently has had many kitchens buzzing, and mine is no exception. I tried making his recipes verbatim soon after reading the magazine, and felt so armed to start fucking around with my own version.
The noodles for this ended up being Chang’s recipe, verbatim. I experimented with making potato noodles using potato flour; didn’t work. The noodles kept expanding then turning to mush when I went to cook them. After I had given up I was told that I should have worked in xanthan as a binder, which one day I may try.
For the broth, we did a traditional corned beef braise; wherein a beef brisket is brined for five days, then braised for four hours in a low oven. We strained off the broth, augmented it with a simple beef stock made from cows’ necks. We steeped in konbu and ground dried shiitake mushrooms, and reduced the broth by one third. The traditional seasoning for ramen broth comes from what’s called tare (tar-ay,) a rich syrupy stuff made from chicken backs, soy, mirin, sake, and bacon. We tweaked this by using hanger steak instead of the chicken backs, and smoked ham hock along with the bacon. The tare is blended into the broth right before it hits the bowl. Again, I adapted all of this from Lucky Peach, so I hope David Chang doesn’t sue me. However, I guess if he was going to, he would have already.
The idea behind this dish was to “fuse” corn beef and cabbage with ramen, and the garnishes reinforced this. We had baby carrots, roasted fingerling potatoes, raw shredded cabbage, pickled mushrooms, and a breaded and fried soft boiled egg. We made a radicchio chip that had the very similar texture and flavor to the traditional nori. The hunk of corned beef was pull apart tender, warmed through in a little bit of the ramen broth.
Overall, I was extremely happy with this dish. As my own toughest critic, I have a few critiques. Firstly, ramen should not be part of a multi-coursed dinner. Ramen IS a multi-coursed dinner. I did not have enough broth in relation to the other ingredients in the bowl because I was worried about over filling people, as is my custom. Ramen should be a huge satisfying meal unto itself, not just a stop on runaway fusion train.
It’s worth mentioning that PDX Eater did a little piece on this dish for their reoccurring Chef in the Kitchen feature. A big and warm thanks to Erin Dejesus for her great article and ongoing interest in KitchenCru, and as many thanks to the talented photographer Dina Avila for her beautiful photos. The article is cool in an of it self and all, all though I was so excited during the shoot I forgot to put the corned beef in it. The real joy of this article however, came the day after; when people started to comment. Check it out, it’s worth a good laugh.
It should come as no surprise that tentop’s recent Pastafarian dinner was a resounding success. Pasta is universally loved around the world and our guests were happy to eat five courses of it. The highly exalted Flying Spaghetti Monster was pleased and we felt his benevolent smile shining upon us all. The guest Chef, one Michael Perez; is a talented cook, one as immersed in the Chef life as I’ve seen. Fucking guy lives and breathes kitchens, and this pasta dinner proved his skill. It was a blast working with him again, we’ve got a rich history. Each dish was more succulent than the last, but recipe that follows was by far my favorite. As I was picking the meat off the rabbit carcasses I kept popping the plump little milk braised garlic cloves into my mouth. Your supposed to save those for the farce I guess. Use this filling to stuff your favorite pasta, we did casonsei, which look like little candy wrappers. Don’t be afraid to bust out your dick shaped cutter for other fun filled shape. I bet it would also make a great burrito filling.
Milk Braised Rabbit farce by Mike Perez
1 rabbit (hind quarters)
4 Spanish yellow onions(julienne)
1 gallon milk
1 bulb garlic
6 oz Pecorino Romano
1 bunch thyme (1/2 picked and chopped)
1 bunch rosemary (1/2 picked and chopped)
Season legs and sear. Rest on a rack. Add onions to pan and caramelize, reserve half of the caramelized onions for later. Add all the garlic to the onions in the pan with the thyme and rosemary (whole) sauté until you smell the aromatics. Add legs back to pan and add milk to cover. Braise at 300*f until meat is falling off bone.
Shred pecorino. While hot pick rabbit off bone and salvage any garlic left in the milk, discard milk (it will be separated) and braised onions. In a food processor; process rabbit, fresh milk, chopped herbs(to taste), reserved onions, pecorino, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Balls deep.
You HAVE to process everything while hot or it will not be emulsify correctly or have a proper consistency. When the farce cools it will tighten up and be ready to pipe into any number of dick shaped pastas.
My original idea for tentop was not to create a thematic supper club. I knew when I took the kitchen manager job at KitchenCru that i would need a creative outlet, a venue where I could experiment with food and write about it. I also thought I might be able to create a place for buddies of mine to cook; sous chefs or line cooks. Talented people who wanted to cook their own food, but worked under another Chef, so couldn’t. Not another venue to give the reach around to the usual suspects of the Portland food scene, but a place for the talented up and comers who make those Chefs’ celebrity possible. As noble as that all sounds, I also saw it as a chance to continue learning new techniques and biting ideas, the foundation of my culinary prowess. And the obvious benefit of doing half the work and receiving the same amount of glory was not unappealing, truth be told.
So, proud to say; our latest dinner showcased talented Chef Mark Dunleavy of Tabla on NE 28th. I met Mark at Ten-01, and I’ve written about him before on this blog. He picked a menu direction that turned out to be a hard sell: offal. I was a bit disappointed and surprised by this in Portland, with everyone preaching the whole “nose to tail” eating and all that farm to table shit. I figured people would be tripping over themselves to eat this stuff, but we didn’t fill the seats until the last minute. Chef Dunleavy created a menu both interesting and accessible, for the veterans of organ meats and noobs alike. The guests who attended were blown away, we had one couple tell us they wanted to buy a season pass to tentop; and they were visiting from DC.
After posting the pictures from this dinner on facebook, I’ve been inundated with requests from cook buddies in Portland who want to get in here and do a dinner with tentop; and I couldn’t be happier. Upcoming dinners will include themes like “Fusion,” because love it or hate it, it’s where innovation in food comes from. Also “Molecular,” because I know a talented Chef who can teach me some cool shit. And what about straight up Mexican? Everybody loves that shit, and I’ve got a guy for that. So stay tuned faithful readers, if there is still any of you out there. Here’s Mark’s menu, I handled the dessert, of course. I’ll be bugging him to hook me up with some recipes to post.
Chef Mark Dunleavy
foie gras mousse
“ants on a log”
pig heart rueben
house made rye, heart pastrami
confit lamb tongue
beets, watercress, horseradish
pig’s head, marinated mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds
deviled with potatoes, grilled hanger steak and parsley sauce
in the style of pastilla with carrot ice cream
“pig tail,” blood caramel, milk chocolate mousse
What’s more comforting to faithful readers like yourselves than a hamburger and hotdog? For me, I always want to eat one or the other of these invented elsewhere but perfected by America delicacies. I eat hot dogs or hamburgers more than anything else, Shorty can verify, and there are few things that I will argue more vehemently than the proper way to make/cook a burger. It’s my favorite food, there I said it. I am a simple man with simple tastes.
For tentop’s Junk Food dinner, we spun the old classics into something we could call our own, It’s just how we roll. The dog we did in the style of choucroute, the classic Alsatian dish of sauerkraut, sausage, pork belly, and sometimes potatoes. We followed through on the theme with a soft pretzel bun and whole grain mustard. We made our own smoked andouille sausage, a milestone for me. I’ve seen sausage piped into casings dozens of times, but have never done it myself. It’s easier than it looks, but it ain’t exactly easy.
The burger was a version of something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile, which I discovered here. It’s one of those “because fuck you that’s why” kind of dishes. We took truffle mac e chee, solidified it in the fridge, then cut out round discs which we stuffed into the burgers. The trim left over we breaded and deep fried as a side, and just called it “hamburger with truffle mac e chee,” making the stuffed part a surprise. The buns were a recipe I’m coming to lean on more and more from Ideas in Food. By the way, every time I say “Ideas in Food,” I think of something else. It’s a simple dough that is highly adaptable to many applications; foccacia, loaves, buns, etc. I even used it once as a spare tire on my car. Anyway, I stole it from one of the best books released this year, go buy a copy. But first make this bread.
Fail Safe Bread by Ideas in Food.
975 g AP flour
4.5 g dry active yeast
12.5 g sugar (or honey, or maple syrup, or brown sugar)
18 g salt
2.5 cups water, milk, tea, beer, etc warm like bathwater, not too hot
oil for brushing, semolina for tray.
- preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Oil a medium large bowl.
- Weigh all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix just until a ball of dough forms. cover the bowl and rest 15 minutes.
- After the rest, mix on second (medium) speed for 7 minutes. Mold the dough into a ball and transfer to the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise two hours, or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and let it rise again until not quite doubled in size, about one hour.
- Portion the dough into roll size (3-4 oz) divide in half and roll into loaves, or maybe a loaf pan? Or flatten onto a oiled sheet pan for foccacia. Bake for ten minutes at 400, then rotate the pan reduce the temperature to 325 and bake an additional 12 minutes
The latest tentop dinner at KitchenCru was a smash, or at the very least; we all got smashed. We opened both evenings with a big bowl of espillette almond caramel corn, and an even bigger bowl of iced down coldies. I mean what better way to kick off a Junk Food dinner than with an ice cold PBR or Ranier?
Pictured above was the first (and my favorite) course of the menu, Nachos. We cut some white corn tortillas into triangles and fried ‘em off, then smeared ‘em with white bean puree. Then they got some cooked chorizo, a big hunk of octopus, manchego cheese and a sunny side quail egg. In my humble assessment, this was one of the most successful food items I have created. And, it breaks the “No Cheese With Seafood” rule quite readily. We served this with a startlingly outstanding Sangria Slushie, cold and refreshing. I had the lovely miss Chen portion this up in front of quests, it’s just so damn COOL to see a whole cooked octopus. Incidentally, cooking octopus is not as nearly as intimidating as I once thought. Simply blanch it real quick in nearly boiling water, then pressure cook it for an hour, and let the steam dissipate naturally. Furthermore, pressure cookers aren’t nearly as terrifying as I expected them to be. Thanks to Tony Two Fingers for walking me through this technique.
The second appetizer course was Wings, a trio of those plump little beauties. And just to be clear, this. If I had my way I would never eat a drumette, only wings. And since I do get my way at tentop, only wings were served. I steamed all the wings after brining them overnight for twelve minutes. Then the wings sat on a rack over night to dry out for ultimate crispiness. When we finally went to fry them they had a full on pellicle going . We had three types, starting with the classic Buffalo. The only way to eat hot wings of this style is with blue cheese dressing, and because we do things a bit over the top here at tentop, we chose Rossini blue cheese for ours. This is hands down the best blue cheese on the planet, and it should be for the price. Shit for the price you should get a free bowl of soup. Second we had an Asian style wing, with a spicy chili crust and a plum dipping sauce. Lastly, my favorite; the Cool Ranch Dorito breaded wing with spicy peanut sauce. I used to put Doritos on my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that’s where the idea had it’s origins.
These first two courses were a real microcosm of what we do at tentop. We take an idea, and then we push it as far over the top as we can. And that’s not for everybody, and that’s OK. Fuck the haters. We only want ten at a time anyway.
Cool Ranch Breaded Chicken Wings with Spicy Peanut Sauce
3 lbs chicken wings
3/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water from
1 gallon of water
1 tblsp fresh ground black pepper
3 cups flour
1 large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos
1. Measure the gallon of water and remove 2 cups of it, placing it in a pot and bringing it to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir to dissolve. Add this mixture back into the gallon of water.
2. Add the wings to the brine and cover, refrigerate for 5-6 hrs. Rinse wings well and pat dry. Lightly steam or quickly blanch the wings, about ten minutes in the steamer or 2 minutes in boiling water. Place wings on a rack set over a sheet pan and let dry out, uncovered, over night in the fridge.
3. Next day, pulverize the Cool Ranch Doritos in a food processor and create a work space for the standard breading procedure, with the ground Doritos as the breading. Proceed with breading in the manner described in the linked article.
4. Preheat your deep fryer to 350. Fry the wings until GBD, about 4-5 minutes. Serve with…
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Because you know, it’s like you’re dying; turning forty. At least that’s the joke. Anyway, I had fun making this one. I hadn’t made a sheet cake in awhile, maybe not since Didier’s 39th birthday cake a year ago. The cake itself was a lemon sponge, the filling vanilla butt cream and fresh blueberries and raspberries. The coffin is made from the same, minus the berries, and glazed with chocolate and crusted with cocoa nibs. I made the tombstone out of chocolate shortbread.
The cake was well recieved, and the party was well attended; as all the Porteaud parties are. Kara and Didier Porteau are two of the most beloved people I know, an integral part of the family that adopted me at Ten-01. The party included much eating, drinking, and merriment, and I did a good amount of what I like to call “dancing.” Didier was a real sport about the cake, and there was much hugging and high-fiving long before I reached the “I love you man” stage, which was inevitable. When the numerous candles were finally blown out, we lowered the coffin into the grave before eating.
Lemon Sponge Cake
makes 6 1/2 sheet cakes
- 12 eggs
- 5 - 3/4 cups sugar
- 6 tsp vanilla
- 1 jar of mayonnaise
- 12 cups AP flour
- 4 - 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 - 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 - 1/2 cups milk
- 1 - 1/2 cups lemon juice
- zest of 8 lemons
Measure the eggs, sugar, vanilla, mayo, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. This probably won’t fit in your standard Kitchen Aid, you may want to halve it. Whip this mixture on medium high until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes. It can really just keep whipping. Whip the shit out of it as they say.
While the eggs are having the shit whipped out of them, sift together the AP flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Zest and juice the lemons. Measure the milk.
On low speed, add the wet and dry ingredients in three steps, alternating between the two. Start and end with the dry ingredients. When it’s all in, kick the mixer up to medium to ensure total incorporation.
Line six half sheet pans with parchment. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. I weigh each, 34 ounces is a nice amount for a layer. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until GBD, rotating once during baking; about 12 - 18 minutes total.
Sadly, in my excitement; I only got this one crappy picture of this truly delicious awesomeness before it was descended upon like so much carrion by vultures. In truth, half the pie made it over to Clyde, where it was traded to glassy-eyed bar tenders for artisan cocktails. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, faithful readers. Let’s set the way back machine to two months ago, right around Pi Day.
The creation of this pie was yet another result of my highly perked job as manager of KitchenCru’s glorious facility. It all started with leaf lard, which I obtained via our high profile clients; Tails & Trotters. They had a bunch of trimmings that they didn’t have the time or inclination to do anything with, so they passed it along to me. After cleaning and rendering I ended up with about six thirty-two ounce deli cups of pure white lard, perfect for a sumptuous and flaky pie crust. Of which, I of course; made way to much. I had pie dough for miles. The first pie I made in celebration of Pi Day, a fig-apple-caramel delight that I believe I also traded a portion of for beverages at my favorite bar. The second pie i wanted to be savory. The day that I decided to do it, happened to be a day that my employer and co-worker had put on a lunch including corn beef sandwiches, knish, and other delicious NY deli items. A by-product of the shmaltz needed to make knish: cooked chicken meat and skin. I had a direction. I started my pie filling with some home made pancetta I had scored from Chef Andrew Garret of High Heat Catering.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour chilled
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup diced, frozen lard
1/3 cup ice water
- Measure the salt and flour into a bowl. Cut in the flour until it has a granular appearance.
- Add in water and mix until just barely combined. Wrap the dough and chill at least 1 hour before rolling.
Chicken Skin Crusted Pot Pie
- 1/4 cup diced pancetta
- 1/4 cup sliced shallots
- 3 tblsp sliced garlic
- 1/4 cup sliced mushroom of your choice
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 3 tblsp flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cups pulled cooked chicken thigh meat
- salt and pepper to taste
- egg wash as needed
- 1 1/2 cups cooked diced chicken skin
Roll out the pie dough like a boss, line the pie tin and set in the fridge to chill.
Render the pancetta over medium heat, be careful not to brown too much, as it will continue to cook.
Add the shallots and garlic and reduce the heat, sweat ‘em.
Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and saute until partially cooked. Add the flour and cook for three minutes
Add the stock and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook at least ten minutes to thicken and cook off flour taste. Add the frozen peas.
Add the cooked chicken and fold together the filling. Allow it to cool to room temp.
Dump the filling into the prepared crust and roll out the top piece of dough like a boss. Fill the pie level to heaping, but don’t over-fill. If you have extra, eat it.
When you’ve got the pie topped and have crimped the edges, egg wash that bitch. Sprinkle on the chicken skin, making sure every bit is covered. Pat it in a little to make sure it’s secure.
Bake that sucker until the crust is GBD. Cool to room temp before attempting to slice.
If you Google White Chocolate Flourless Cake, you don’t get shit. At least nothing use-able. I mean, almond flour is still a flour of sorts, and any recipe you find seems to use it. I wanted a flourless cake like my dark chocolate recipe;with a rich, fudge-like texture. If you look at my old ratio, it’s quite simple. Chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and water. I figured I’d start there. So white chocolate is basically sweetened cocoa butter and milk. Cocoa butter is fat, so I omitted the butter from the the OG recipe. White chocolate is sweet, too sweet for some, so I yanked the sugar. Water? Didn’t feel right. Cream felt right. So I used cream. I put the batter together like the OG, baked like the OG, bottomed it with crunchy layer and glazed it like the OG. What I ended up with; the guests who ate it and I determined, was a baked custard. The texture was like a thick pudding, a decadent “just-set” confection with a coma-inducing richness that left diners with glazed eyes and lolling heads. The plate had raspberry coulis, preserved lemon granita, and crushed hazelnut brittle.
White Chocolate Flourless Cake
54 oz white chocolate
15 oz eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
line a 1/4 sheet pan with parchment. Preheat the oven to 250 F.
melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
whisk together the eggs and cream.
when the chocolate is fully melted, whisk in the eggs. Scrape the bowl and whisk again, making sure all is incorporated and homogeneous.
transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake until GBD and set, about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn the oven off and let the cake finish inside, Chill thoroughly before glazing and portioning.
Anyone who has eaten with me, or cooked with me for that matter, has more than likely heard me spout off about my love of eggs, specifically warm egg yolk. Faithful readers know that warm egg yolk is hands down my favorite flavor in the whole culinary world. It adds richness, a silky smooth fattiness to almost any dish. I eat sunny side up eggs almost every morning, I have for years. If I have a late night and wake up at two in the afternoon, I still want to eat eggs before anything else that day. In addition to it’s unparalleled flavor, the egg holds a special place in my heart for it’s many useful properties. Thickening, leavening, emulsifying to name a few. Eggs are also one of those ethereal ingredients that you don’t always realize are there, but would know something was missing if they weren’t. The incredible, edible egg also has the the ability to put one in the hospital, if you happen to be my good friend Eric who is allergic.
Anyway, when we set out to create our SupFast menu for tentop, we took great care not to inundate our menu with eggs, which are an integral part of any breakfast as far as I’m concerned. Our solution was an egg trio, using quail eggs; which contain all the deliciousness at a third of the size. We had what we called Huevos Benedictos, a Spanish version of the classic brunch item. I started with a rich brioche recipe from one of my new favorite cookbooks, The Modern Cafe by Francisco Migoya. This dough has so much butter in it, it took almost 30 minutes beating on it with the dough hook before it started to develop any gluten. We topped these toasted rounds with serrano and a sunny side quail egg, then sauce charon made with Viridian Farms espelette powder. The second egg on the plate was a “scotch.” I use quotes because we skipped the whole packing the soft boiled egg in sausage bit, and just breaded and deep fried it. We did this for two reasons. One, the whole idea came for trying this egg from a bi-product of another dish we did for Satan’s Feast. The angry allium dish had fried pepperoni on it, small rounds which we cut from bigger slices. We fried up the trimmings for a snack and found we had made these perfect little pedestals, ideal for cradling a little egg. Secondly, to “lighten” what was shaping up to be a rich dish, and one with a meaty pedestal to boot, we skipped the sausage. Also, after having soft boiled and peeled 24 quail eggs to get 16, I wasn’t about to risk losing more by smooshing meat around ‘em. A little gremolata (under the egg) helped soak up the warm yolk as well as add a nice vegetal note. Lastly, behold the noble omelet. I originally suggested to my co-chef Michael that we do an egg white version, and before I had finished the sentence he had this look on his face that said “fuck that.” And he was right. Egg white omelets are bullshit. So we went in the opposite direction, and used all yolks for these little babies. Inside was Mt. Townsend New Moon Jack cheese and Viridian Farms asparagus. I created a sauce by browning butter, then adding a little salt and champagne vinegar. In my pastry mind’s eye I felt I could give the sauce a little body with a few sheets of gelatin, which worked, kind of. I had to remove almost all of the fat (clarified butter) from the sauce before I noticed any real thickening. It was a smooth, intense sauce. Garnish was for a little crunch, form of…fricco! For the brunch we did a similar dish, minus the “scotch.”
2 egg yolks
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups clarified butter
1/4 cup tomato paste, warm
Pimente d’Espilette to taste
salt to taste
warm water to adjust consistency
1. Warm clarified butter to body temperature.
2. Whisk egg yolk, lemon juice, and a little warm water until mixture is light and frothy.
3. Using an immersion blender, blend mixture continuously while drizzling in the warm butter. I do this in a six pan or a small bain marie insert. I like to put these above a stove or oven to warm them before I start the sauce.
4. Adjust consistency with warm water through the butter adding process. The sauce should have a loose mayonnaise look.
5. When all the butter is added, add the warm tomato paste, espilette powder, and season with salt to taste. Serve ASAP, keep warm.