Onions generally play a supporting role in breakfast recipes, added to omelets or mixed with
potatoes. Cameron Grant, executive chef at Osteria Langhe, Chicago, makes cipolla carbonara, an
interpretation of the Italian carbonara dish with an egg component.
Grant oven-roasts a yellow onion half until the outside is caramelized and the inside is fork-tender. He scoops out the center, leaving the last two layers to create a cup. The scooped onion is
minced and added to loose salami cotto sausage, heavy cream, thyme, Parmesan and fontina in a
saute pan, and cooked until the mixture thickens. At service, a housemade cheese sauce is smeared
on a plate. Then, the cooked mixture is spooned into the onion cup, it’s placed on the plate and
topped with a fried egg. Finally, crushed amaretto cookies are sprinkled in the cheese sauce.
“Putting a fried egg on top makes it a rich, heart-warming and fun item to offer for a brunch
side,” Grant says.
Potatoes are a common breakfast side dish, but they’re generally only oven-roasted. Graybeal
quarters and deep-fries Yukon gold potatoes to achieve a crispy exterior and soft interior. The
fried potatoes are tossed with housemade harissa aioli and topped with chopped green onion and
crumbled feta cheese.
“The loaded breakfast potatoes is a play on a baked potato with on-trend ingredients and an
elevated presentation,” says Graybeal.
Toast is commonly served complimentary with all breakfast entrees, with a choice of whole
wheat or white. “Plain toast is oftentimes partially eaten or not eaten at all,” says Juniper Table’s
Wambach. “And customers are usually only given butter and jelly to add flavor and soften the
He prepares ricotta toast with country-style Italian bread that’s toasted and topped with sour
cherry puree and ricotta cheese. It is served with red watercress salad with pomegranate seeds,
crushed pistachio, finishing olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper.
“Breakfast items need to drive the breakfast menu to more like a dinner menu,” Wambach says.
“Restaurants need to make the breakfast menu as important as other dayparts.”
ROB BENES IS A CHICAGO-BASED HOSPITALI T Y INDUS TRY WRITER. CON TACT HIM AT ROBBENES@COMCAS T.NE T.