Don’t call Brooklyn chef Dale Talde’s food “Asian-fusions,” because it’s not. It’s Asian-American, an homage to growing up Filipino (and proud) in a land of nuggets, breakfast sandwiches and diner feasts. In his new cookbook, Talde takes a classic, twists it up and flips it on its ass, frankly. How else could you possibly come up with a loaded noodle soup that smacks of buttered toast and doesn’t skimp on the bacon?
My first real taste of American breakfast came at night. After evenings of high school–style wilding out, my boys and I would hit up the 24-hour diner, where whatever you ordered, no matter how massive the portion, came with a stack of toast. Somehow, it wasn’t the over-easy eggs, sausages or hash browns, but that toast that became emblematic of American breakfast for me. The scrape of the knife as you buttered it, the smell of dairy melting on warm bread.
Even though my restaurant Talde is far from an omelet-your-way kind of joint, I knew toast had to make an appearance on the brunch menu. So why not in ramen, my favorite breakfast food? And boom, a new staple was born: perfectly chewy noodles doused in a broth infused with the flavor of buttered toast. Bacon and soft-boiled egg are the obvious extras.
- 1 1/2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
- 6 slices soft white bread
- 12 cups Ramen Broth
- 1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into approximately 1 1/2- by 1/2- by 1/4-inch batons
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen ramen noodles or thin fresh egg noodles
- 1/2 cup loosely packed scallion greens, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup honey
For the broth
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rub the butter on both sides of the bread, and arrange the bread in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet, leaving any extra butter in pieces on the bread. Bake, turning the pan and flipping the slices occasionally, until the bread has absorbed the butter and is crisp like toast and deep golden brown all over, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the broth to a gentle simmer in a medium pot. When the bread is ready, add the slices to the broth and increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the bread steep in the broth for 15 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve, stirring and smooshing the solids to get as much liquid as you can. Pour the broth back into the pot and keep it hot while you finish the ramen. The broth keeps for up to 2 hours; stir well before serving.
For the bowls
Put the bacon in a skillet, set it over medium-high heat, and let it sizzle, stirring occasionally, until it’s crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour out all but a slick of fat in the pan, reserving the rest for another purpose. Combine the honey and black pepper in the skillet, set it over medium-high heat, and let the honey bubble.
Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s coated in a sticky glaze, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of icy water.
Carefully add the eggs and cook for 6 minutes (set a timer). Transfer the eggs to the icy water (keep the water boiling) until they’re just cool enough to handle.
Peel them, halve them, and set aside.
Cook the noodles in the boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain in a colander and run under water to rinse off some starch and cool the noodles. Shake to drain them very well and divide among 8 bowls along with the eggs, bacon, and scallions. Ladle the broth into each bowl, gently agitate the noodles with a fork or chopsticks to keep them from clumping, and eat.