Monday, May 2, 2011

Egg Dreams & Amuse Bouche: Savory Crème Brûlée


As a kid I distinctly remember eating sukiyaki beef dipped in raw egg. I would beat it with a fork and then land my saucy, hot beef strips into that puddle of yellow and clear liquid before bringing the chopsticks to my mouth. For breakfast I would make big bowls of rice mixed with raw egg and soy sauce. Its sticky savory flavor would linger long after I finished eating. Some mornings I would open the fridge, when it was still dark outside, and practically jump for joy when I found a cup of eggnog my dad made for me in the blender, with raw eggs. Even the best way to eat natto is mixed with a raw egg, although some people would probably argue with the entire premise of that sentence. The sticky slimy all-coating texture of natto can only be stood up to by a raw egg, as the pungent savory natto smell has already chased out everyone else.

All these foods are home, to me. My parents had taught me to eat these dishes and to trust in their wholesomeness.

1eggamuseboucheAs a parent I am my kids’ guide into the world of food. I’ve thought many times about those foods I ate so often as a child and I’ve not dared give them to Amaya, because of my fear of salmonella poisoning.

Well, that’s about to change.

This month I was asked to participate in Kitchen Play’s May Progressive Party. I gratefully accepted the challenge, and I was delighted with the partnership with Safest Choice Eggs. I found them easily at my local grocery store. Safest Choice Eggs is a brand that pasteurizes eggs in their shells to make them free of harmful Salmonella bacteria. Most Salmonella poisoning is caused by ingesting raw eggs.

Now I don’t have to hesitate before tasting batters or other foods that contain raw eggs. Amaya can sneak cookie dough without any worry. She already loves natto, so I’m sure the raw egg version will only sweeten the deal. I can rest my paranoid parent mind.

For the Progressive Party I was given the course of amuse bouche, which is sincerely my favorite course at a nice restaurant. I love getting that surprise bite. There’s no expectation, and the fact that the chef chooses for me just gives me a thrill.

Check out Kitchen Play’s website for more information on this month’s contest. If you recreate any of the courses, including mine, and post about it on your blog, you have the chance of winning $100 for each course.

P.S. And to make it easier for you to create one of this month's recipes, here's a link to three $1.00 coupons for Safest Choice Eggs

2eggamuseboucheAmuse Bouche: Savory Crème Brûlée with parmesan and balsamic vinegar syrup

I based my recipe on the memory of a parmesan crème brûlée I ate from Perbacco with my friend Da during a trip to NYC a few years ago. I’ve been trying to justify a trip back there just to eat at that restaurant again. The balsamic vinegar syrup I could eat plain for dessert. The sharp tang of vinegar is almost completely whisked away by the cooking. All that’s left is a dark, rich, sweet resin of coating syrup. Pairs well with strawberries too.

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 Safest Choice Egg yolks
  • 1 Safest Choice Egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsps brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees and get out 4 4oz ramekins. In a small saucepan combine the cream and milk. Whisking often, heat over medium heat until the milk is just barely simmering. Add the parmesan and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks, whole egg, and salt. When the cream has cooled slightly, whisk it into the eggs in a steady stream. You must whisk quickly or the eggs will curdle.
  3. Pour the liquid into the ramekins. Set them into a glass baking pan and pour about 7-8 cups of very hot water into the baking pan. The water level should be about half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  4. Carefully put the water bath and ramekins into the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of one of the ramekin mixture comes out clean.
  5. Remove the ramekins from the oven and remove from the water bath. While the ramekins are cooling, heat the 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until the liquid simmers down into a thicker syrup, about 8 minutes. It should have a molasses type consistency.
  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the tops of the crème brûlées and heat the sugar with a kitchen torch until browned and crystallized. This can also be done in the oven under the broiler for a minute or so.
  7. Serve with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar syrup over the top. To keep with the amuse bouche spirit, put a small drizzle of syrup (1/8th or 1/4th teaspoon) into a large soup spoon and place a dollop of the crème brûlée on top of that, keeping the caramelized sugar intact. Strawberries are a good serving accompaniment, or a slice of crusty bread.


Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

Good job. Everything looks really good. I hate raw eggs, specially egg-y drinks but you''re starting to convince me I should give it another try.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Wow - looks so smooth and delicious - want to give this a go.

jalna said...

Beauuuutifully displayed. Makes me wanna take a bite outta your photo!

Anonymous said...

I love raw eggs on top of hot rice, or any other way with food, esp in Japan. I wonder if eggs are pasteurized differently here, than in the U.S.? There doesn't seem to be a concern here over? I've often wondered about that but I never researched it. The dish sounds delightfully delish.

Christine Wu said...

This is beautiful! I love raw eggs too. Never heard of savory creme brulee, might try this soon!

Tessa said...

I've never heard of savory creme brulee either - very creative! I love the balsamic reduction too. Looks like you had fun with this month's progressive party :)

Isabelle said...

I've only ever had sweet creme brulee before, but this savoury version sounds wonderful... especially with that balsamic glaze, which is wickedly addictive stuff (I LOVE it with strawberries).
I have to say, though, even the promise of a salmonella-free egg isn't enough to convince me to eat natto... but sign me up for sukiyaki! :)

CopyKat Recipes said...

This sounds so tasty! I would love to prepare this for my next dinner party. I love the idea of a savory creme brulee.

Ellie said...

Hurray, salmonella-free eggs! My culinary class really drilled the dangers of food borne illnesses into my brain so I was quite paranoid too.
One of the activities I look forward to when I visit Japan is pouring raw egg in natto over rice and all those raw egg dishes because we can't in the US.
The brulee looks delicious (I haven't tried brulee before)!

Amy Kim said...

i used to eat hot rice mixed with raw egg and soy sauce. looking back, i feel like i was damn lucky. i even used to sneak pieces of raw bulgogi before it went on the grill. is natto like dwaen jang (Korean soybean paste)?

i need to try this recipe! it sounds delicious and i love the tangy sweetness of reduced balsamic vinegar.

Kath (My Funny Little Life) said...

Beautiful idea for an egg dish! I also love the way you arranged it on an Asian porcellain spoon, and with balsamic sauce and a strawberry. Balsamico and strawberries go really well with each other!

Nessie @ bakingequalslove said...

This post sparked the best memory - once we had a power cut right around dinner time and since the rice had just cooked, dad made us raw egg and soy sauce. He's passed away and I had forgotten about that dish. Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane :)

Lauren said...

Your blog is beautiful! Love what you did with the savory creme brulee! Happy to have "met" though the dinner party!!

Anonymous said...

Hello! The recipe looks great! Can't wait to try it out. About the concern over raw eggs, there are a couple of brands that are widely availa ble that are safe to eat in a raw or undercooked manner. I don't know the brand names but all you have to do is look for the word PASTURIZEd imprinted on the egg carton! Pasturized eggs have been heatEd only to a minimal degree. Just enough to kill the bad bacteria. Problem solved!

Thanks for the great sounding recipe!


Vixandra said...

This is a very tasty recipe. I cooked it in 2 oz ramakins and got 12 of them. This isn't a "raw" egg recipe- if you temper the eggs with the hot cream it's just as safe as eating a pastry cream, especially since the eggs go another round of cooking in the oven.

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