Why a Japanese Breakfast Is the Test Kitchen's Favorite Way to Start the Day
It's fish and rice rather than muffins or scones in the morning.
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We've already established that our food editors skew more savory than sweet for breakfast (except for our lone sweet fan, recipe tester Riley Wofford!), but their absolute favorite just might be a Japanese-style breakfast. A typical Japanese breakfast often includes rice, grilled fish, pickled vegetables, eggs, and miso soup. "It's a great combination of textures and strikes the perfect balance between savory and acidic," says assistant editor Lindsay Strand. Editor at large Shira Bocar's platonic ideal is the Japanese breakfast at Brooklyn's Okonomi, which consists of seven-grain rice, roasted fish, miso soup, a soft-cooked egg, and a colorful medley of vegetables. She says, "It's clean, nourishing, and has a little bit of everything. Breakfast can be pretty boring, so this is so much more exciting to me."
The test kitchen makes a Japanese breakfast-inspired spread at least once a week in the cooler months, "when you need a little something more to get started in the morning," says senior editor Lauryn Tyrell. The 42 Burners team is well aware that it's not authentic, but it's all about paying homage to Japanese flavors. Lauryn likes to put together a bowl using short-grain brown rice, a crunchy, tangy element like pickled ginger or kimchi, something warm, such as sautéed mushrooms or greens or even steamed broccoli, and a poached egg that she breaks up atop the rice to create a sauce of sorts.
For the fish component, Lauryn adds broiled salmon, or as a treat, hamachi kama (yellowtail collar). Fresh vegetables, such as sliced cucumbers or chopped avocado, often make it onto the table as well. Leftovers can also be a key part of the test-kitchen Japanese breakfast. It's only a go-to for deputy editor Greg Lofts if he had rice at dinner the night before-he warms it up at work, scrounges up any leftover vegetables, and for the pièce de résistance, opens up a tin of fish.
Shira uses leftover fish as an excuse to whip up a Japanese breakfast. Simply prepared salmon, halibut, or shrimp all work well. "Don't use anything with too much sear or marinade on it; it's supposed to be mellow," advises Shira. She then adds a hard-cooked egg, pickled vegetables, or in a pinch, leftover cooked vegetables dressed with rice-wine vinegar. She forgoes the miso soup in favor of black coffee: "I know it's not traditional, but I live in Brooklyn, so I'm going to have coffee!"
Watch Shira make this brown rice-and-salmon bowl-it's great for dinner, too!