recipe courtesy of John Gorham
Text written by Liz Crain and John Gorham from the Toro Bravo cookbook.
serves 6-8 people
When Toro first opened, a purveyor brought me an Italian anchovy syrup called colatura, which is basically a fish sauce made in Italy that’s similar to Thai fish sauce. This was around the time Kasey was on a real pad thai kick. We had some squid ink pasta lying around so for staff meal we made a bastardized version of pad thai with it—using hazelnuts instead of peanuts and the colatura instead of fish sauce, plus chilies, sprouts, and onions. It was so good that we made it again the next day. Over several weeks we perfected it, and it’s been on the menu ever since.
- 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, julienned
- Salt and pepper
- 9 ounces squid ink pasta (Get it online if you can’t find it locally. We love the brand Rustichella D’Abruzzo. The family that owns the company bought old abandoned pasta mill and got it back up and running. The pasta is relatively mild in terms of the squid ink. Most Americans prefer that flavor tamed down a bit.)
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 heaping tablespoon Mama Lil’s Mildly Spicy Peppers in Oil (or 1 teaspoon
of red chili flakes)
- 1 cup roasted hazelnuts, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 4 egg yolks
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons fish sauce (we use Red Boat fish sauce)
- Put a large sauté pan over high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot add the julienned onion and cook it to caramelize.
- After about 5 minutes add the salt (it will leach out the water) along with the pepper.
- Lower the heat to medium for 5 minutes, then to low to finish cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Set a large pot of sea-salty water (¼ cup salt, 1 gallon water) to boil for the squid ink pasta. Cook the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes.
- In a large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Cook the garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the Mama Lil’s Peppers and cook for another 15 seconds. If the peppers get too hot they like to pop, so be careful.
- Add the caramelized onions to this pan and then add the lightly crushed hazelnuts and remove from heat.
- Divide the 4 egg yolks between 2 ramekins (2 yolks in each ramekin). Stir 1 teaspoon of olive oil into each ramekin.
- Strain the cooked pasta and put the colander over the hot pot to allow it to continue steaming for
about 1 minute. Meanwhile, return the hazelnut/chili mix back to high heat.
- Combine the pasta with the hazelnut sauté, and add the fish sauce a little bit at a time. Using tongs, toss until all of the ingredients are well distributed. Taste and adjust fish sauce. Remove from heat.
- Serve the pasta divided into 2 medium serving bowls. Make a divot in the center of each bowl slide the 2 yolks with oil onto each bowl. Serve immediately and toss once at the table to incorporate the yolks.