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The Incredible Edible Eggshell

Wylie Dufresne takes a crack at improving nature.


Making the shells, at top; the dish, at bottom.  

Good news for those who want more out of their eggs than just the yolks and whites: Wylie Dufresne—the man behind the deep-fried-hollandaise cube—has concocted an edible eggshell. Well, all right, it’s not really an edible eggshell, but maybe the next best thing: These shells are actually constructed from edible clay, or kaolin, an ingredient Dufresne first encountered at Mugaritz in Spain, where chef Andoni Luis Aduriz used it to disguise potatoes as rocks for some reason. Dufresne and team make a paste of the clay powder, which arrives in big buckets from New Jersey, by blending it with water, lactose, and brown-butter solids. The next step requires balloons, preferably the type juvenile delinquents like to fill with water and throw off rooftops. (Dufresne recommends Party City on 14th Street.) The balloons are dipped into the clay batter, skewered upright into florist foam, and the shells left to dry overnight. At service, the balloons are popped and removed, and the shells artfully cracked for plating with a six-minute egg, a smear of Caesar dressing, and Moishe’s pumpernickel toast. Those who wonder about the digestibility of this new addition to the tasting menu should bear in mind another of kaolin’s myriad uses: as a onetime ingredient in Kaopectate.


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