Soft-Boiled Eggs with Bacon-Infused Sweet Potatoes and Parsley Coulis

In this dish, four of Chicago chef Bruce Sherman's favorite ingredients—eggs, sweet potatoes, bacon, and parsley—are paired in an unexpected way. The soft-boiled egg is an elegant counterpoint to the parsley coulis and sweet potatoes; a dainty strip of bacon placed on top of the dish provides visual whimsy and a smoky taste. "There's a certain voluptuousness to the egg yolk that you can't find elsewhere in nature," says Sherman.

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Bacon-Infused Sweet Potatoes and Parsley Coulis
This dish pairs eggs, sweet potatoes, bacon, and parsley in an unexpected way.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 12 cups coarse sea salt
  • 4 sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 tbsp. chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 12 tsp. sugar
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, 2 halved crosswise
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  • Leaves from 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, plus 4 deep-fried leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375°. Cover bottom of roasting pan with coarse salt. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork; roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Peel and mash. Transfer mashed potatoes to a nonstick skillet; cook over medium-low heat until dry, 8–10 minutes. Press through a fine sieve; set aside. Discard solids.
  2. Reduce oven heat to 350°. Meanwhile, put stock, oil, vinegar, sugar, onions, and salt and pepper into a pot. Cover with a circle of parchment paper. Cook over medium-low heat until soft, 25–30 minutes. Purée onions in a blender; press through a fine sieve. Discard solids; set onion mixture aside. Put cream and 6 whole slices bacon into a small pot; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until thickened, about 25 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve. Discard bacon. Cover and set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add fresh parsley leaves; cook for 1 minute. Transfer parsley to a bowl of ice water. Drain, reserving 1⁄3 cup ice water. Purée parsley and reserved water in a blender. Press through a fine sieve. Discard solids and set aside.
  4. Arrange halved bacon on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet; top with parchment and rest a second baking sheet on top. Top with a heavy weight, such as a cast-iron skillet. Bake until crisp, 30–35 minutes.
  5. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add eggs, allow water to return to a boil, then cook until eggs are just soft-boiled, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill. Gently peel eggs under running water and transfer to a medium bowl; cover with water and set aside.
  6. To serve, reheat eggs briefly in gently simmering water; drain. Rewarm potatoes and bacon cream together; season with salt and pepper. Warm onion mixture and butter together; stir in parsley purée and season with salt and pepper. Spoon some potatoes into the center of 4 bowls; top each with an egg; pour parsley sauce around sides. Garnish with bacon and fried parsley leaves.