Making Something From Nothing: The Anatomy Of An Improvised Breakfast
I embarked upon a very slow start to my morning today, the result of overindulging in too much good wine last night, and I had just made an extra strong pot of coffee when I was suddenly swept with a wave of hunger that required immediate attention. I scanned the fridge and searched my cupboards and sadly chuckled to myself as I realized that the only thing more pathetic than the refrigerator of a college aged bachelor, was probably that of a professional chef.
Ready to resign myself to a bowl of instant oatmeal, I remembered the carton of farm fresh eggs I had bought just a couple of days before, tucked away at the bottom of my refrigerator. A couple of simple, sunny side up eggs would have to placate my hangover induced hunger. As the eggs slowly cooked, I started to imagine how good their runny yolks would be dripping over a bowl of steaming hot pasta, but the eggs were halfway cooked by this point and making pasta would surely mean overcooking them. The wheels had started churning though, because suddenly I remembered a packet of pre-cooked Kashi grains that I had bought a few weeks prior for just such an emergency. I quickly tore open the packet and heaped a mound of grains onto a plate and into the microwave. "Now, what else?" I said aloud as I contemplated my larder. Fresh herbs would certainly invigorate this combination, and as I opened my crisper drawer, I was delighted to find a bunch of fresh sage just waiting to add fragrance to my dish.
The grains came out of the microwave, were tossed with torn sage leaves, salt and pepper and awaited the eggs which were close to perfection. But suddenly I was in a creative vortex and pondered what else this dish might need. The answer, was depth of flavor, and I had just the thing for that– a knob of beautifully mellowed Parmesan cheese. I shaved on a feather-light layer of cheese and went to retrieve the eggs, which by that point had been adorned with a smattering of flaked black sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chili flakes.
The dish wasn’t quite there though, so I flitted over to the cupboard (the coffee obviously having taken effect) and pulled out an exquisite bottle of locally made Katz olive oil and another bottle containing my new favorite condiment, a tar colored – balsamic like aged sherry vinegar, brought to me by a friend from London.
As I drizzled on the oil and vinegar, it occurred to me that I was concocting something quite salad-like and that's when I remembered the lone head of radicchio that sat perched upon the middle shelf in my fridge. This addition was pure genius– the bright magenta color, the bitter flavor, the gentle crunch. By this point, however, I was forced to switch to a bigger plate, as my two lowly eggs had suddenly become a downright respectable meal. The final touch was another few twists from the pepper mill, and lastly, another gossamer layer of parmesan cheese grated over the top.
Needless to say, the dish was delicious and made me once again aware that my years of experience in the food world are relevant, even on a lazy, hung over Sunday morning.