Ever wonder how a Japanese steakhouse, a Southern greasy spoon, and a Vietnamese breakfast spot might play on a single plate? At Himitsu in Washington, D.C., Best New Chef Kevin Tien’s Steak and Eggs revision makes it work. A dozen fried quail eggs are a rich and playful pairing for seared steak. Nuoc cham—the Vietnamese power chord of lime, chiles, and fish sauce—dresses crunchy greens. Letting mushrooms and kombu soak in soy sauce for 24 hours yields a deeply savory sauce—a drizzle of it cranks up the steak’s umami. To crack quail eggs, use a pair of small-pointed scissors to pierce the top third of each shell. Snip around the shell, and then pour eggs into a bowl.
UMAMI SOY SAUCE
1 (1-inch-square) piece kombu
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
NUOC CHAM DRESSING
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons hot water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)
8 red Thai chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced (1 tablespoon)
STEAK AND EGGS
1 pound beef strip steak or rib eye steak
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon gochugaru
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 quail eggs or 4 large chicken eggs
2 cups loosely packed watercress
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 teaspoons furikake (Japanese seasoning)
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the umami soy sauce
Wipe any excess salt off kombu with a damp cloth. Combine kombu, soy sauce, and dried shiitakes in a small bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature 24 hours.
Step 2 Make the nuoc cham dressing
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Step 3 Make the steak and eggs
Sprinkle steak with salt, black pepper, and gochugaru. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add canola oil, and swirl to coat. Add steak, and cook until deep golden brown all over and medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, and let rest 5 minutes.
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high; spray with cooking spray. Break eggs into skillet, and cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Toss together watercress, onion, and nuoc cham dressing in a medium bowl. Slice steak against the grain.
Divide steak evenly between 2 plates; drizzle each with 1 tablespoon umami soy sauce, and sprinkle evenly with furikake. Divide eggs and watercress salad evenly between servings. Store remaining umami soy sauce in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 months.
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