As a rule, I avoid reviews of books I intend to read. So is it odd, then, that I love to peruse them after the fact? With the recent publication of “Klara and the Sun,” Kazuo Ishiguro added another eerily relatable work of science fiction to his catalog. James Wood’s review in The New Yorker spotlights why such stories are so poignant: In writing from the unaffected perspective of artificial intelligence, our own biases are laid bare.
In the culinary sphere, “molecular gastronomy” broadened attitudes in much the same way. While this oft-maligned moniker became synonymous with pretentiousness, one of its positive spinoffs was to spearhead a re-evaluation of incorporating overlooked ingredients into dishes. When Ferran Adria reinvented the beloved Spanish omelette with potato chips, foodies were equal parts offended and inspired.
If you’ve ever tried to adapt a Western recipe for the Japanese kitchen, you already know it is necessary to shed your preconceptions. Often, such fusions aren’t worth repeating. Sometimes they just work. Evolved, the dish may bear only a passing resemblance to the prototype but, if you’re anything like me, identifying why you’re cooking what you’re cooking is as important as the end result.
This omelette is ready to eat as is, or it can be served atop a bowl of rice or toast as a sort of tamagoyaki. With its core of crispy sara udon (literally “plate noodles”), you could even think of it as modanyaki — Osaka-style okonomiyaki griddled with yakisoba noodles. Top it with any sauces or garnishes you like; here I’ve used simple red onion and chili pepper, but fried onion and queso fresco cheese is a winner, as is chopped kimchi and sausage. Any leftovers are the perfect bento filler. The recipe is easily scalable, though for fewer eggs use a proportionally smaller pan.
Prep: 10 mins.; cook: 10 mins.
• 2 red peppers
• 6 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon shichimi spice mix
• 150 grams sara udon crispy noodles
• 70 grams nama (cured) ham, thinly sliced
• 25 grams butter (or olive oil)
• Red onion thinly sliced and tōgarashi chili pepper, to garnish
1. Core and slice red peppers and place in a lidded container. Microwave in a microwave-safe container at 800 watts for three minutes.
2. Slice the ham intro strips. Make sure they’re not clumped together from the cutting process.
3. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add salt and shichimi, and lightly whisk to incorporate. Gently press the crispy noodles, peppers and ham into your wet egg mix. It’s fine if the noodles break, but be gentle, as they enjoy jumping out of the bowl. Once evenly mixed, wait two minutes for the noodles to soak up some of the egg.
4. Melt your butter in a 25-centimeter nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the egg mixture to the pan, flatten and cover with a lid and reduce to low heat.
5. Flip the omelette after seven minutes, or when it’s set and lightly brown. To make this foolproof, flip it onto a plate and then slide the omelette back into the pan for a further three minutes.
6. Turn onto a serving plate or board, segment and garnish to serve.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.