One random Wednesday in the spring of 2006, I woke up with a nasty head cold. Given how contagious these rude viruses are, and that I only had one class that day anyway (I was in law school at the time), I decided to stay in bed and be grouchy all day. I felt like crap and the real world could wait. I had no clue we were about halfway through the first season of Bravo’s hit series Top Chef. But in my channel flipping, I stumbled upon Bravo; they were showing the entire season, one show after another, until they aired the newest one that evening. I left the channel put, ended up binge-watching the first half of the season, and I’ve been a major fan ever since.
As you are probably well aware, Top Chef Season 15 premieres this Thursday night, Top Chef Colorado, and personally I am thrilled. So much so, in fact, that it seemed a bit wrong not to focus my blogging this week solely on its return. So today, we have a Tom Colicchio recipe; tomorrow, a Padma recipe; and Thursday is the crème de la crème: I’m ranking seasons one through fourteen, from worst to best. (If you’re now thinking, hey she doesn’t usually do a post on Wednesday, you are correct – it’s just that I could not determine whether Tom or Padma is more emblematic of the Top Chef franchise, and the handful of people I asked couldn’t do so either. So we’re going with both).
As I’m sure you already know, this season is set in Colorado. The first episode of Last Chance Kitchen plus an extended preview of the season is already up on Bravo’s website – definitely watch it. LCK is different this year and involves some TC alums, and Graham Elliot is a rotating guest judge again. AND the preview answered a question of mine – since this is Colorado, would there be rocky mountain oysters? Oh you bet your ass, baby: THERE WILL BE ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS! Google it if you think it’s seafood….
Like I mentioned, today is a Tom Colicchio recipe, from his successful, casual sandwich shop ‘wichcraft. A simple affair, but head-scratchingly unique, and a little messy to eat as all great sandwiches should be; anchovies and eggs actually love each other very much. Do make a point to seek out white anchovies, instead of the more ubiquitous red ones you find in the tin can. They are meatier and well, easier to eat straight-up, as they are a little less salty. I made only minor changes: using baby arugula instead of frisee even though I wanted to use frisee, but I couldn’t find it, insert annoyance; and instead of sticking many onions in the oven for a large batch of Roasted Onions like they do at the restaurant, I simply cooked one chopped onion stovetop, as that’s much easier when cooking for two. Follow the directions for the soft-boiled egg exactly, as they are flawless. Save these particular directions for anytime you want a soft-boiled egg. I’ve written this for two sandwiches, but there’s easily enough salsa verde for four. With that, please enjoy, and we’ll meet again tomorrow for Padma and more Top Chef chat!
SOURCE: slightly adapted from ‘wichcraft by Tom Colicchio
2 ¾ cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tbs diced shallots
½ tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs drained capers
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
A pinch of granulated sugar
4 oz. white anchovies, marinated in oil, not salt-packed
2 large eggs
1 cup frisee lettuce or baby arugula
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp red wine vinegar
4 slices country bread
First make the SALSA VERDE: add all the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor. Process until incorporated but not completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You will probably have extra, but it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For the SANDWICHES: drizzle a little olive oil into a skillet and set it over medium heat. Add the onion, plus salt, black pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized but not browned or charred. Set aside and let cool.
Pat the anchovies mostly dry on paper towels.
Carefully lower the eggs into a saucepan of boiling water. After 7 minutes, remove the eggs and place in an ice-water bath. Once cool, carefully peel.
In a bowl, toss the greens with 1 tsp oil and vinegar and add salt to taste.
Lightly toast the bread on each side, but don’t take it very far. You just want to give your sandwich a little structure, you’re not making buttered toast for breakfast.
To assemble the sandwich, place one egg on one slice of bread. Gently mash it and spread it out with a fork. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Top the eggs with onions, then anchovies and the greens. Spread an even coat of salsa verde on one side of the other slices of bread. Close the sandwiches, cut into halves, and serve.