Since returning from a recent trip to Japan, Chef Josef Centeno has been serving up his interpretation of a traditional Japanese breakfast at Orsa & Winston in Downtown LA. He has dubbed one of the dishes Breakfast in a Shell. It is a coddled egg with warm semolina, balsamic cream and maple syrup that is topped with fresh chives, flecks of sea salt and tiny puffed rice balls called masago arare. Like other dishes at the restaurant, Breakfast in a Shell combines the flavors and ingredients of Japan and Italy.
BREAKFAST IN A SHELL
Top (remove) the widest ends of the eggs; the tapered ends will stand by themselves in boiling water.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
4 large eggs, topped
¼ tbsp Cooked Semolina (recipe follows)
2 tsps Crispy Pancetta (recipe follows)
½ cup Balsamic Cream (recipe follows)
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp fresh chives, minced
Sea salt, to taste
1 tsp masago arare (tiny rice cracker balls)
4 egg cups
Prepare the eggs: Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Return each yolk to its shell and reserve the whites for another use. Season each egg yolk with a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of chives.
Cook the eggs: In a small saucepot, bring 5 cups of water — the water should come up about 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of the pan — to a simmer. Gently place each topped egg in the water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water and transfer each egg to an egg cup.
To serve: Add a tablespoon of cooked semolina over each egg. Top with balsamic cream and drizzle with maple syrup. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt, chives, crispy pancetta and rice cracker balls. Serve immediately.
1½ cups whole milk
¼ cup semolina flour
1 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tbsp unsalted butter
A pinch of salt
Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepot or saucepan. Whisk in the semolina and cook on medium-low until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cheese, butter and salt. Reserve and set aside.
½ cup pancetta, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
In a small pan, slowly heat the oil and cook the pancetta over medium heat until fully rendered and crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Once crispy, transfer the pancetta bits to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve and set aside.
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
In a large bowl, whisk the cream, vinegar and salt together until soft peaks begin to form. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. Reserve and set aside.
Photo by Stan Lee, FCS 2016 James Beard Foundation visual storytelling award winner.