Eggs cracked fine dining menus when chefs mastered the art of perfectly poaching in the 64-degree Celsius water bath of an immersion circulator. Then increased availability of the farm egg helped cement the current locavore restaurant “eggstravaganza.” But with lasting power like that classic breakfast combo, eggs and ham, simpler recipes still offer the opportunity for a good egg.
Jeremiah Bacon, Indigo Road Group partner and executive chef of Oak Steakhouse and The Macintosh, handles eggs with dexterity. Having developed an effective method for peeling hard-boiled eggs without pitting their exterior, he turns them onto pristine deviled eggs, then elevates them by perching fried oysters on top. “The fun in this pairing comes from the balance of soft and crunchy, acid and salt,” says Bacon. He twists classic carbonara by using linguine instead of spaghetti and dials the dish up with a finish of red pepper flakes. “It’s still a rich dish,” he advises, “and it really needs nothing more than a salad of bitter greens and a glass of red wine to make it a meal.”
His baked eggs with celery and smoked mackerel, the name a new spin on old-fashioned shirred eggs, are cooked in individual ramekins and deliver a solid technique for serving to a crowd. “As for the fIavor combo, I use smoked mackerel a lot at The Macintosh. It has a great oil content that attracts the smoke and contrasts with the cleanness of the celery and the creaminess of the egg.”
When he first arrived at Carolina’s from New York’s Per Se, Bacon was able to procure his farm eggs from legendary Green Grocer farmer and livestock maven Celeste Albers. However, the exploding popularity of fine dining in Charleston increased demand from Albers’ longtime first-come clients. Meanwhile, having two restaurants meant Bacon required even more eggs. Now he sources from several pastured poultry farms. Raised outdoors, with access to natural grasses and grub in addition to a grain mix, pastured chickens lay eggs that are unique. “The eggs have sturdy shells, firm whites, and deep yellow yolks,” Bacon says, “not to mention the health benefits they bring. Look for Celeste’s eggs at the Charleston Farmers Market. You’ll see the difference.”
Restaurant: The Macintosh and Oak Steakhouse
Accolades: 2012 semifinalist for the James Beard Best Chef Southeast
First F&B Gig: Prep cook at Slightly North of Broad
Education: BA in philosophy at the College of Charleston and Associates degree from The Culinary Institute of America.
Favorite Local Ingredients: “Access to local seafood is such a game changer for our area.”
Recipe You’ll Never Share: “I share everything.”