Based in Toronto and New York City

, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Archival posts from my former blog, Walking and Talking

How to make Bar Basque Chef Yuhi Fujinaga's Crispy Farm Egg

Crispy Egg and proud inventor of dish.

Recently I wrote an item for the Cravings website on the amazing Crispy Farm Egg that Bar Basque chef Yuhi Fujinaga created for his mod restaurant at the Eventi Hotel on Sixth Avenue. Chef Yuhi was nice enough to reduce the recipe to a scale the home cook can manage, and to do a little demo of the dish for me.

Here it is, with my step-by-step photo instructions. It's a very chefy, dish, meaning lots of steps, none of which are too difficult in and of themselves, but which all add up to a bit of a production. But if you're feeling adventurous, give it a go! If you can't find the mildly smoked Spanish raw sheep's milk cheese Chef Fujinaga uses, manchego would be the next best thing, though not quite the same sans smokiness.

Crispy Farm Egg
6 organic brown eggs (Chef Yuhi prefers farmer's market eggs)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs (regular white is fine), whipped, for egg wash
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 Yukon gold potatoes (3 oz. each), peeled, quartered, steamed until fork crushable
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, julienned and stewed lightly in their own juices
4 oz. Idiazabal cheese, grated
1 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons flat-leaf Italian parsley, washed, picked and rough chopped
2 tablespoons sweet butter, 83% fat
12 sliced serrano ham, sliced paper thin
1 quart canola oil, preheated in a stainless steel pot to 350 degrees (home cooks, you can get away with less)
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Espelette pepper
watercress or arugula for garnish

In a non-reactive stainless steel pot, bring water to a boil with a little bit of salt. Boil enough water to cover all of the eggs.Once the water comes to a boil, drop the organic eggs in the pot for 5 minutes. Immediately remove them from the boiling water, and chill them in an ice water bath. At Bar Basque, cooks boil and chill the eggs in advance.

Here's your panko-dusted egg, no bald spots!
When the eggs are chilled, carefully peel the shells off, and start your breading procedure: Dust the eggs in all-purpose flour, followed by a dip in the egg wash. Coat the eggs with the panko bread crumbs, making sure that there are no bald spots.

Preheat canola oil to 350 degrees. Deep-fry the breaded eggs until golden brown. Season the eggs after with espelette pepper and sea salt. Chef Fujinaga recommends a good dose of sea salt, so that when the egg is broken open, the salt mixes with the yolk and seasons the entire egg.

Once the potatoes are steam cooked, combine the olive oil, sea salt, parsley and butter in a non-reactive stainless steel bowl, and crush the potatoes with a fork or whisk, incorporating all the ingredients together.

 In a separate stainless steel pot, bring the half-and-half to a boil. Meanwhile, place the grated cheese in a blender. Once the half-and-half has come to a boil, pour into blender. Run on high speed to emulsify. This, too, can be made in advance and reheated.

In a bowl, spoon one scoop of crushed potato in the center of the bowl.

Top off the potato mixture with the roasted peppers.

Place the fried egg on top of the roasted peppers.
Wrap the tower of potato, peppers, and egg with the thinly sliced serrano ham.

Pour 2 ounces of the cheese broth around the wrapped tower.

Garnish with watercress or arugula. Attack with gusto.

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