Adapted from a recipe in “Smoke & Pickles” by Edward Lee.
Serve with “Imperfect Rice.”
The rice recipe makes enough for 4 large rice bowls or 6 appetizer-sized ones
The goal when cooking rice this way is to achieve a thin layer of toasted crust in the bottom of the pot. The crispy layer in contrast with the fluffy layer of rice on top is a sumptuous combination. I use a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. You could seek out a stone rice crock like the ones they use in Korean restaurants, but the cast-iron pan works just fine. Make your favorite toppings while the rice is cooking. When the toppings are ready, divide the warm rice, crunchy bits and all, among rice bowls and serve.
Marinade: 1 garlic clove, grated (use a Microplane) 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use a Microplane) 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper One 1-pound flat-iron steak, thinly sliced Collards: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 cup diced onions 1 bunch collards, ribs removed, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil Eggs: 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 large eggs, preferably organic 4 cups cooked rice (see below) Imperfect Rice: 2 cups Asian long-grain rice 1 teaspoon salt
To marinate the beef: Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the steak slices, turning to coat. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature.
While the steak is marinating, cook the collards: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until caramelized and nicely browned. Add the collard greens, salt, and vinegar, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the collard greens are wilted. These aren’t braised collards, so don’t cook all the color out of them–they should be wilted but still with enough crunch to keep your mouth happy. Transfer the collards to a warm plate and cover to keep warm.
Cook the steak: Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the steak slices, with the marinade, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the beef is browned and cooked all the way through. Transfer the beef to a bowl and keep warm until ready to serve.
To cook the eggs: In the same skillet, melt the butter. Fry the eggs sunny-side up one at a time. Keep warm until ready to serve.
To serve, scoop the rice into your rice bowls. Spoon the collard greens over the rice and place the beef over the greens. Place a fried egg over the beef in each bowl. Serve immediately, with spoons — it is best to mix everything together before enjoying.
Place the rice in a large bowl and fill the bowl with 4 cups cold water. Using your hands, stir the rice in circles until the water turns cloudy. Drain the rice in a strainer, then return to the bowl and add another 4 cups cold water. Allow the rice to soak for 30 minutes.
Drain the rice in the strainer again and shake to release the excess water. Transfer the rice to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Add 3 cups cold water and the salt and give it a nice stir. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn the heat as low as you can, cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes, with the lid still on.
Take the lid off the skillet, turn the heat on to medium, and cook the rice, without stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the rice on the bottom of the pan turns amber and crisp. You can keep the rice warm in the skillet until you are ready to serve.