Chef Nyesha Arrington is a familiar face at the weekly Santa Monica Farmers Market, where she can be found sourcing seasonal ingredients — and inspiration! — for her recently opened restaurant, Leona. Located just a few doors down from her former mentor Josiah Citrin’s new Charcoal Venice on Washington Boulevard, it’s yet another refreshing, new addition to the neighborhood.
Known for what she calls her “progressive California cuisine,” Nyesha rose through the kitchens of Citrin and Joël Robuchon before appearing on reality cooking shows like Bravo’s “Top Chef” and the Food Network’s “Chef Hunter.” This LA native’s signature style combines classic French technique together with lessons learned cooking alongside her Korean grandmother as a child, using local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients for her “globally-inspired menu” at Leona.
Nyesha’s recipe for Bacon & Eggs is a personal twist on the American breakfast classic. Substituting Lily’s farm fresh duck eggs for regular chicken eggs, the result is a luscious play of contrasting textures. Think delicately fried, soft poached eggs crowned with a light, crispy Kennebec potato hash and flecks of Maldon sea salt and Korean red chile flakes, served in a rich bacon-infused beef broth.
For anyone apprehensive about trying duck eggs for the first time, don’t worry: they taste like a slightly richer version of chicken eggs. However, they’re larger in size, which just means more of that creamy goodness to enjoy with your Bacon & Eggs. Consider it a Leona upgrade.
Nyesha’s Bacon & Eggs
Yield: Makes a single serving
Crispy Egg Ingredients
1 Lily’s Farm duck egg
3 cups Kennebec potatoes, julienned
2 cups cornstarch
1 tsp kosher salt
Egg wash (1 beaten egg + 2 tbsps water)
Canola oil, for light frying
Bacon Broth Ingredients
1 lb bacon sliced
10 oz beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
Maldon sea salt
Korean red chile flakes
Fresh thyme, a few leaves for garnish
For the bacon broth: Begin by roasting sliced bacon in a pan on medium-high. Add hot beef broth and a sprig of thyme, then steep for 45 minutes. Strain the broth and reserve.
For the duck egg: Blanch the duck egg in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Shock the egg in an ice bath for 10 minutes. Gently peel the egg and reserve.
In a shallow dish, dredge egg in cornstarch and dust off any excess corn starch. Next, dredge the egg in your prepared egg wash, and gently place into bowl of julienned potatoes. Gently lower into light fryer at 365ºF degrees until golden brown.
Separate the bacon into chunks and finish in a hot sauté pan.
To serve: Arrange the chunks of bacon in a shallow bowl. Add the crispy egg and potatoes, seasoning with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt, Korean red chile flakes and a bit of thyme for garnish. Pour the hot bacon broth around the crispy egg just before serving.