Inside NYC’s sushi restaurant Rosella, Chef Jeff Miller’s menu features a familiar Japanese dish: a rolled tamago omelet, a slightly sweet but savory staple of Japan’s sushi counters. But here it comes with a twist: It’s definitely a dessert, a sweet and salty final course flavored with maple syrup and caviar.
To prepare the dish, Miller first pours soybean oil into a rectangular copper pan used specifically for making tamago. “The 90-degree angles are really bizarre at first,” says Miller. “But once you get a feel for the technique, it helps a lot. For everything else it is useless.”
After the pan heats up a bit, he pours the egg in, looking for a slight hiss to gauge if the pan is hot enough or not. “If it’s too cool and the egg doesn’t start sizzling as soon as you drop it, there’s a good chance it’ll stick, then you’re in trouble,” says Miller.
As the egg cooks in the pan, Miller constantly turns it on 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 heats it in a pan with butter to brown the sides, and once it’s ready to serve he tops it with maple syrup and caviar.
Miller learned the dish from the first chef who hired him, and he feels like that chef is watching him every time he cooks it. But for most diners, the dish evokes something else entirely — a decidedly Western brunch favorite. “People compare tamago to French toast night after night,” says Miller. “Which makes sense; it’s eggs and butter and maple syrup.” Of course, French toast doesn’t typically 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.