Monday, July 18, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Ochazuke with Caramelized Shallots and Fried Egg

This post was my first assignment from the The Secret Recipe Club, which is organized by Amanda of Amanda's Cookin'. Every month, she assigns each club member a blog from which to replicate an interesting recipe then write about the experience. More than 70 food and recipe blogs currently participate.

My rendition of Dr. Abramson's Ochazuke With Caramelized Shallots and Fried Egg. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)

My assigned blog this month is Healthy Green Kitchen, written by Winnie Abramson, ND. She's a "naturopathic doctor turned recipe developer, food writer and photographer." Her blog includes nutritional advice, kitchen tips, natural remedies and organic gardening know-how.

The recipe I chose to replicate, tinker with and try not to ruin is Ochazuke With Caramelized Shallots and Fried Egg.

One particular ingredient drew me in: 2 tablespoons of dried wakame seaweed. She recommends re-hydrating it for a few minutes in 1 cup of very hot green tea, preferably sencha, hojicha or genmaicha. 

That brought to mind a post I wrote in January 2011 about the quality of the water used in food can make or break its flavor. The late Julia Child understood this when she complained that the tap water in Santa Barbara, Calif., "turns my Chinese tea into mud."

Abramson was careful and deliberate in her green tea recommendation, but we don't often ponder what kind of water to use in our recipes with the same deliberateness. 

Geography profoundly affects water quality and guarantees that my version of this recipe will not taste exactly like the original, even if I make no other changes to the recipe.

Ochazuke With Carmelized Shallots and Fried Egg

Ingredients

1–11/2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (I had basmati rice in the house.)
2 tablespoons dried wakame seaweed, re-hydrated for a few minutes in 1 cup of very hot green tea
1–2 tablespoons organic coconut oil or olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2–4 eggs, preferably organic and free-range
coarse sea salt (black lava salt is nice, if you can find it)

Directions

1. Divide the rice into two bowls. Pour the green tea (along with the re-hydrated wakame) over the brown rice. Allow to steep while you prepare the shallots and the eggs.
2. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet. Add the shallots and saute for three to four minutes, stirring frequently until soft and brown. Move the shallots over to the edge of the pan. Add a little more oil to the pan, if it seems too dry.
3. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook for three to four minutes, until the whites are solid. For over-easy eggs, flip and cook for another minute or two on the other side.
4. Top the rice, green tea and seaweed with the cooked eggs and the shallots. Sprinkle with a little sea salt before serving.

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