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My knowledge of Wu-Tang Clan comes almost exclusively from my days in NYC restaurant kitchens. Prior to the recent insane obsession with trap, Wu-Tang was one of the de facto line soundtracks. My entire Wu education came from long shifts prepping or banging out dinner. I’m a sucker for the Shaolin/Shaw Brothers themes which I had never heard in hip hop. They feature prominently in a This Is A Lesson Spotify playlist I made of old school hip hop. So, I dig Wu-Tang Clan but I would not necessarily call myself a fan. This recipe is less about my fandom or the influence Wu-Tang Clan and Ghostface Killah have had on my musical taste and more about an undeniably groan-inducing hip hop recipe pun.
More to the point, this recipe is a protest against avocado toast. I REFUSE to make avocado toast EVER! First of all, toast is a free side item at brunch – not a main course. Spreading some guacamole and a few vegetables plus a soft-cooked egg still does not make it a main. I give major props to the first person to sell this as a $10 item, but I’m not going to propagate that scam. Instead, I’m going hillbilly, taking it off the brunch menu and making it a light lunch or appetizer.
This recipe demonstrates a key element of my menu design philosophy: reuse & recombine. It places the deviled eggs from Sympathy For The Deviled Egg on a bit of sauteed spinach and serves it up on toast spread with Emperor Tomato Ketchup creating a new menu item without increasing prep labor or inventory items. It would easily function as a brunch item, an appetizer item, and even as a light lunch entree.
Plus it’s actually pretty damn delicious for stuff on toast.
Pimento cheese deviled eggs, tomato onion jam, wilted spinach, Aleppo pepper, and pink sea salt on toast
Makes 1 toast
Heat a bit of oil in a skillet. Take a couple of handfuls of baby spinach and add to the pan. Cook until just starting to wilt. Remove from heat.
Place toast on a plate. Spread a generous amount of Emperor Tomato Ketchup – 2 or 3 tablespoons works nicely. Top with the wilted baby spinach. Carefully place the Pimento Deviled Eggs on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper flakes and pink sea salt.
EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP
Fresh tomato and caramelized onion jam
Makes one pint
2 medium sweet onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2- pounds plum tomatoes, cored, seeded & finely chopped
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Melt butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onions and stir to coat in the butter. Spread onions out into a single layer and do not touch for about 5 minutes. This will allow the onions to start browning and brown bits to form on the bottom of the pan. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the pan and scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Stir the onions and spread into a single layer. Keep repeating this process every 5-7 minutes until the onions are completely softened and a deep, dark brown, about 15-20 minutes total.
Patience is a virtue & a necessity here. You want to let the onions get fully and beautifully caramelized. That WILL take some serious time and work but will be worth it.
Once you’ve got beautifully caramelized onions – add the tomatoes, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes in with the onions. Stir to combine everything thoroughly. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and jam has thickened about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Again – patience is your friend here. Let the jam take its time and you will be rewarded with a thick dense jam. Just remember to stir occasionally to keep the jam from scorching.
When the jam is finished – let cool then spoon into a storage container and keep refrigerated.
PIMENTO DEVILED EGGS
Hard-boiled egg, Pimento cheese, Rock Candy Jalapeno, paprika
Makes 12 deviled eggs
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup Pimento Cheese (see recipe below)
Rock Candy Jalapeno
Peel and slice the eggs lengthwise. Place the yolks in a medium bowl and set the whites aside. With a fork, blend the yolks with the mayo until smooth. Stir in the pimiento cheese spread and mix well. Spoon the mixture evenly back into the egg whites and top with jalapeno, Aleppo pepper flakes, and paprika
Yield: 1 pint
1/2-pound cheddar cheese
1/3 cup mayo
1 roasted red peppers
1/8 cup Rock Candy Jalapenos (or pickled jalapenos)
1/3 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/3 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Roast the red peppers on the stove, in the oven or – ideally – on a grill with a bit of wood smoke until the skin is charred. Place the roasted peppers in a paper bag (or cover them in a bowl) and let them steam a bit. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove seed and set aside.
Finely shred the cheddar cheese.
Place the roasted red pepper and candied jalapeno in a food processor. Chop until they are almost a paste consistency. Add the shredded cheese, mayo, Worcestershire, yellow mustard & spices.
Blend until it forms a spread – occasionally scraping down the sides. It will appear to be a bit thin and watery. FEAR NOT! Place in a storage container and put in the refrigerator several hours or (even better) overnight. Your patience will be rewarded with a true Southern treat!
NOTE: While a food processor is the best tool for this recipe, it is not necessary. Just finely shred the cheese and finely mince the red pepper and jalapeno. Mix everything thoroughly with a spoon. You will not get as smooth of a spread but it will still be delicious.