Often times, after dining at a restaurant, I feel compelled to replicate a dish I couldn’t get enough of. Usually this ends up being a 12 hour braised cut of meat, with 15 components including a vegetable mousse, dehydrated vegetables and liquid nitrogen something. Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. The dishes I fall in love with are often so complicated that once my wine buzz wears off, I realize how ludicrous my attempt would be. So I scrap it.
Then there’s the occasion dish that is so fresh and uncomplicated that I wonder why this has not become a staple in my own home. My first attempt at a Watermelon Salad came from a summer dinner at ICI, where it was also garnished with baby heirloom tomatoes, yet in my cooking I decided there was nothing more perfect than watermelon, feta and mint, perhaps with a little drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt flakes. At Telepan Local I also found simple perfection in its Brussels Sprouts and Fingerlings with coddled egg. The waitress warned us, “the egg yolk is a bit runny, are you okay with that? Some think it’s gross”. We absolutely knew what we were ordering. Unless you’re keen for some egg salad, is there any other way to eat eggs than with a warm yellow center coating every bite of your meal?
The dish, served like a salad, was perfect. A bowl full of chopped fingerlings and Brussels sprouts, with a perfectly cooked egg balancing on top. The potatoes might have been boiled briefly before being sautéed with the Brussels and tossed with a dressing, but in my recreation I ignored the extra step. A warm pan with enough olive oil and attention on my fingerlings was all I needed. I noticed the raw, chopped potatoes had a habit of clinging to the pan, leaving some residue here and there, but when I added the cider vinegar to bring everything together, the bits stuck to the pan lifted without effort, adding some thickness to the dressing.
I substituted a 5 minute egg for a coddled egg on Telepan Local’s menu, mostly out of laziness, though found the salad was still quite tasty without it when I brought eggless leftovers for dinner the next afternoon. My fingerlings were local from Satur Farms in Long Island, but the Brussels sprouts were not. My only disappointment to the meal was I was forced to use larger Brussels, quartering many of them, which resulted in loss of shape and leaves. In a perfect world, I would have used petite Brussels and keeping them whole.
Warm Brussels Sprouts & Fingerlings Salad with 5-Minute Egg (Serves 4)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs fingerlings, chopped into 3/4-inch bite sized pieces
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered if too large
- Sea salt
- 3 tbsp good quality cider vinegar
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- 2-3 c ice
In a 4-quart saute pan, heat olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and add fingerlings, stirring constantly until coated with oil so they don’t stick (too much) to the pan. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 15 minutes. The potatoes should still be very firm but not raw.
Add in Brussels sprouts and generous pinch of salt and continue to cook until bright green, about 3-4 minutes. Pour vinegar over Brussels-fingerlings mixture and mix well, scraping up any bits of potato stuck to the bottom of pan. Add a few turns of fresh ground pepper and taste. Add salt or vinegar as needed.
TO MAKE THE EGGS: Set a 3 quart saucepan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add ice to a metal bowl and fill with enough cold water so eggs will be submerged. Once saucepan has reached a constant, rolling boil, add eggs and set timer for 5 minutes. Remove eggs immediately with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice water. Let sit for 2-3 minutes before CAREFULLY peeling. Divide Brussels and fingerlings salad among 4 bowls and top each with a soft-boiled egg.