At NYC’s sushi restaurant Rosella, chef Jeff Miller’s menu features a familiar Japanese dish: a rolled tamago omelette, a slightly sweet but savory staple of sushi counters in Japan. But here, it comes with a twist: It’s firmly a dessert, a sweet-salty final course that’s flavored with maple syrup and dollop of caviar.
To make the dish, Miller begins by pouring soy oil into a copper, rectangular pan used specifically for making tamago. “The 90-degree angles are really bizarre at first to work with,” says Miller. “But once you get a feel for the technique it’s very helpful. It’s useless for anything else.”
After the pan heats for a bit, he pours the egg in, looking for a slight sizzle to judge whether or not the pan is hot enough. “If it’s too cool, the egg doesn’t start sizzling right when you drop it, there’s a good chance it’s going to stick, then you’re in trouble,” says Miller.
As the egg is cooking in the pan, Miller is constantly flipping it onto itself until it’s several layers thick and on one side of the pan to give it a rectangular shape. Once it’s cooked, he flips the pan over with a wooden board to keep the tamago intact. He then warms it in a pan with butter to brown the sides, and once it’s ready to serve tops it with maple syrup and caviar.
Miller learned the dish from the first chef who hired him, and he feels as if that chef is watching him every time he cooks it. But for most diners, the dish recalls something very different — a decidedly Western brunch favorite. “People, night after night, compare the tamago to French toast,” says Miller. “Which makes sense; it’s eggs and butter and maple syrup.” French toast, of course, usually doesn’t come with Sterling caviar on top — or a $55 price tag — but for the perfect combination of sweet-and-salty for dessert, it’s worth it.