I love the rare occasions when I get to make a meal just for myself. It's an opportunity to eat what I like without having to make a balanced meal (like my occasional dinners of charcuterie and full-fat, creamy cheese); indulge my love for unpopular cuts of meat (especially innards); and experiment with ideas for dishes that sound good in my head but which aren't yet ready to make their debut in front of others. Every now and then, though, I just want comfort food and that's when I cook something like this dish.
The "four eggs" in this recipe are mentaiko (spicy cod roe), Chinese toasted shrimp roe, tobiko (flying fish) roe and poached chicken eggs.
Kewpie mayonnaise is from Japan and comes in squeeze bottles. It has a slightly sweet taste but isn't saccharine, like salad cream.
Finely mince the shallot. Slit open the mentaiko sac and scrape the contents into a small bowl. Add the cream and Kewpie mayonnaise and stir until thoroughly combined.
Bring two medium-sized pots of water to the boil. In one, stir in about 1tsp of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, timing it so it's done just before you start cooking the sauce. When it's ready, scoop off about 120ml (½ cup) of the cooking water, then drain in a colander, but do not riinse it. For the other pot of water, lower the flame so it's just simmering.
Put the butter in a skillet placed over a low flame. Add the shallot and cook until soft. While the shallot is cooking, add about 30ml (2tbsp) of the pasta cooking water to the bowl holding the mentaiko mixture, and whisk to combine. Put the hot pasta into the skillet, then pour in the sauce mixture and mix quickly and constantly. The ingredients should coat the pasta lightly but evenly; if it seems dry, stir in more pasta water or cream. Add ⅛ tsp of shrimp roe and mix again, then turn off the flame and leave the ingredients in the hot skillet.
Turn the flame under the second pot of water to high. Stir in the vinegar. Crack the egg into a small bowl, then stir the water with a wooden spoon to create a vortex. Put the egg into the centre of the vortex and continue to stir the water. Poach the egg until softly cooked, then scoop it from the water using a slotted ladle. Drain the egg on a paper towel to blot up the excess moisture.
Stir the tobiko eggs into the pasta, then transfer to a shallow bowl. Create a small crater in the centre of the pasta, then place the poached egg in the crater. Sprinkle with a little more shrimp roe, then scatter shredded nori over the pasta and around the plate.
Mix the egg into the pasta before eating.