Executive Chef Brian Wolfe wanted to put together a dish that highlighted the large amounts of white sturgeon caviar Kimball House was getting. He tried complicated, often fussy combinations, but the caviar never shone through. Simplicity often is best, and that’s the direction he went.
Broken down, the dish he came up with is eggs two ways over one of the South’s most humble ingredients —middlins. The impression on your taste buds, however, is far from simple. It’s a revelatory indulgence best eaten with a spoon.
Middlins, originally a poor man’s dish of the Lowcountry, are the shorts, or “brokens,” that are by-products of milling fragile long-grain rice. Wolfe cooks the middlins (also called rice grits) with onion and bay leaf tea, and finishes them with a little cream and a ton of aromatics. Shallots, preserved lemon in tiny brunoised bits, chive and crème fraiche are added, he said, “in copious amounts.”
An egg yolk poached in olive oil glistens on top. It oozes with the puncture of a spoon. Crispy and slightly crunchy threads of potato add a nice textural balance to the overall creaminess. A generous mound of caviar is cold and briny, lending a textural balance with the pop of each tiny egg. “We played around with the portion of caviar on the dish and settled on ‘a lot,’” Wolfe said.
The dish is rich, buttery and delightfully balanced in flavor, texture and elegant simplicity.
Kimball House. 303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur. 404-378-3502, kimball-house.com.
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