February 14, 2019

Better than “strong yes”: Breakfast Bowls are testing at CloverKND

I’m going to give you the whole story here. This bowl has been in the works for a while and there are a lot of inspirations. Read on to learn about all the things kicking around in my head as I was dreaming this one up. And come taste it at CloverKND. We’re in testing. But come early. We’ve been doubling quantities everyday but selling out anyway.

It started 3 years ago when I saw my father in law do something surprising. He made oatmeal one morning with soup stock. Just for himself. A savory oatmeal. I’d never seen anything like that and it stuck with me.

I was thinking about whether Clover should have some savory breakfast items that are not breakfast sandwiches. Then I was in Ireland and looking at egg pots (a popular thing in England too). I thought they were too puny for our American sense of portion. But I liked the idea.

I grew up in Bernardston, MA where my parents still live. The other year I found photos of a 3 or 4 year old me at a farm in Southern Vermont. The caption mentioned the Gilfeather Turnip, which has since become a really important heirloom. It was brought by from extinction by the farmers my parents were friends with back in the late 1970s. It’s delicious. I’ve always loved turnips.

There was a beautiful restaurant in NYC called Semilla that my friend Johnny Spero recommended. They served me rutabaga that was stewed long and slow in a mushroom broth then done up beef Wellington style. It was stunning.

We had a shot at a peso  breakfast bowl last year. It was a good experience. I’ve been thinking about this basic idea for a while. But it didn’t quite land where we wanted it to land.

So for take 2 I came up with a recipe that does something a bit unusual with the turnip/ rutabega/ radish space. Daikon are in the same space (a radish). I love the depth of flavor these vegetables have and think they are a bit unsung. A great rutabega is like nothing else. It’s intoxicating. At home I make daikon pickles (sliced daikon in soy sauce in the fridge the longer the better). And I like making sandwiches with daikon and tacos with daikon. And when I get home from work too late and everybody is already in bed and I want a quick meal I’ll fry up one of our hen’s eggs and make a sandwich with pickled daikon and egg and maybe some hot sauce or salsa I have in the fridge.

So this bowl brings all of that stuff together. We’ve brought in some potatoes of a variety that’s perfect for this kind of use. We roast it then smash it and fry it. A technique which gives you some awesome crispiness contrasted with the pillowy soft interior that’s so beautiful in New England-style home fries. We have low and slow purple daikon (called “starburst daikon”) and purple turnips. They are umami bombs. Of course we have our 6.5 minute egg. And I worked in a favorite salsa of mine that I thought would work really well with this. It’s a mild Yucatan salsa made with pumpkin seeds.

I think the bowl is amazing. And the response has been wow. We’ve sold out 2 days running. We’re bringing more today. It’s testing at CloverKND only right now. But see that photo? Some customers (more than one) voted it a 12 out of 10. Really fun.

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