Ashley Christensen Restaurants

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Category: AC

AC x Alabama Chanin: A Collaboration

We’re lucky to know and work with a lot of really talented individuals in our extended community. One such badass is Natalie Chanin, the creative genius behind the clothing line Alabama Chanin, based in Florence Alabama.

Natalie is one of the most inspiring people we know, and has pioneered a way to celebrate and build community around slow craft and design. Her hand-sewn garments are made from organic cotton, the production of which she’s involved in from the moment the crops are planted.

We’ve teamed up with Natalie in the past to fundraise for the causes that are near and dear to us. Just a few weeks ago, AC traveled to Florence to cook dinner in the Alabama Chanin factory to raise money for the Southern Foodways Alliance.

But now, Natalie has taken it a step further by introducing a new line of garments that she created inspired by one of AC’s favorite pull-overs. Check it out and purchase the collection here.

Event: AC at Pinehurst

Join Ashley at the historic Pinehurst Resort & Country Club for a special weekend of food, cooking demos, workshops and more. Ashley will be the featured chef of the resort’s ‘Chef + Maker’ culinary weekend on July 7-9, and has planned a four-course dinner highlighting the best ingredients of North Carolina. Details and tickets for the weekend are available here; see her menu below.

One

NC Jumbo lump crab salad with espelette, avocado, and fried saltines

Two

Sunburst tomato pie with watercress and sherry vinaigrette

Three

Wood grilled short ribs with Yukon Gold potatoes aligot + spring vegetable stew

Dessert

Rum brûléed banana panna cotta with pecan short bread

Recipe: Fried Cauliflower with Spicy Fish Sauce

As food people, we can't resist a good cookbook. And it didn't take us long to figure out that Joshua McFadden's newly released cookbook, Six Seasons, was the kind of book that we would be cooking out of and turning to for years to come.

Joshua is the chef at Ava Gene's in Portland, Oregon, but he started his career in New York, working at some of the top restaurants in the business, including Franny's and Blue Hill. His book documents the easter eggs of wisdom he has amassed over the years on cooking vegetables--his recipes are full of easy techniques that will stick with you for the long haul.

We're thrilled to welcome Josh to Raleigh next week when we host him at Bridge Club for a cookbook party. In deciding which of the many recipes we wanted to share with attendees, we couldn't resist a dish of fried cauliflower with spicy fish sauce. Josh was kind enough to grant us permission to share the recipe here. Make it at home, or join us on Tuesday to get a copy of Six Seasons (which Josh will happily sign for you) and snack on some of the dishes from the book.

Fried Cauliflower with Spicy Fish-Sauce Sauce

This recipe is the result of an experiment I did one day when I was working at a restaurant in New York City. I was cooking Brussels sprouts and trying to figure out what method to use to get them super crispy. I had sprouts going simultaneously in a sauté pan, the oven, the steamer, and I threw one into the deep fryer. I sort of forgot about that one, yanking it out only after it was almost burnt. And of course it was the winner—crisp, almost charred, and exceedingly sweet. Now I use the same method for many vegetables, cauliflower being ideal. You can serve it simply tossed with lemon, salt, and dried chile flakes; with a lime and freshly coarsely chopped garlic and parsley; or with a sauce or dip, as I do here.

Serves 4

2 garlic cloves, minced

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium cauliflower cut into chubby florets

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Spicy Fish-Sauce Sauce (see below)

Put the garlic in a bowl large enough to hold all the cauliflower and add enough olive oil to cover.

Pour at least 3 inches of oil into a medium saucepan with tall sides (so that the oil can’t bubble over when you add the cauliflower). Slowly bring the oil up to 365°F on a thermometer. Arrange a double layer of paper towels on a tray and set near the stove.

Carefully immerse a few of the cauliflower florets into the oil and fry until they are really dark brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels. Repeat to fry all the cauliflower, taking care not to add too many florets at once, which would lower the oil temperature and make the cauliflower greasy.

Toss the fried florets in the bowl with the chopped garlic and its oil, the parsley, and a big old glug of the fish-sauce sauce. You want enough to coat the florets and leave more for sopping up. You can also serve the cauliflower undressed, with the spicy fish-sauce sauce in a ramekin for dipping.

 

Spicy Fish-Sauce Sauce

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

1/4 cup seeded, deribbed, and minced fresh hot chiles (use a mix of colors)

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup water

1/4 white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

Stir everything together in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust so you have an intense sweet-salty-sour-hot balance. Ideally, make this a day ahead, then taste and readjust the seasonings on the second day. The chile heat is likely to get stronger. The sauce will keep for a month or two in the fridge.

Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.

Ten Years of Awesome: Poole’s at the James Beard House

It's hard to believe it, but Poole's Diner will turn 10 years old this coming December! Coincidentally, one of our favorite restaurants in the world, City House in Nashville, also turns 10...just three days before Poole's! To celebrate these milestones, chef Ashley Christensen and Poole's chef de cuisine Jason Tomaszewski will head to New York to team up with City House chef Tandy Wilson to cook at the James Beard House on June 12th. The menu is nothing short of mouth-watering and it promises to be an unforgettable night!

Join us: tickets can be purchased here. Need more convincing? Check out the menu, below.

Hors d’Oeuvre

Crispy Meatballs with Jezebel Sauce

Buttermilk–Cottage Cheese Bruschetta

Rugelach with Salami, Walnuts, and Parmesan

Fried North Carolina Softshell Crabs with Green Tomato–Charred Vidalia Rémoulade

Miniature Three-Year-Aged Cheddar Pimento Cheese Hand Pies

White Stone Oysters with Pickled Watermelon Rind and Roasted Sesame Seeds

Dinner

Octopus with Buttermilk Crema, Radish, Cress, Sumac, and Sesame

Heirloom Tomato Pie with Watercress, Crispy Okra, and Sherry

Sour Corn Cake with White Beans, Yellow Squash Sott’olio, Chiles, and Mint

Sweet Corn Soup with Piquillo Peppers and Summer Herbs

One Pig, Two Kitchens > Creamed Corn Grits with Smoked Tomato Gravy and Crispy Garlic; White Acre Peas with Ramp Chowchow; Turnip Greens with Turnip Fonduta and Hot Vinegar; and Chopped Salad with Alici, Pecorino, and Breadcrumbs

Dessert Bites > Sea Salt–Bourbon Caramel Pudding; Blueberry Rhubarb Tartlets; Chocolate, Pecan, and Sesame Sandwich Cookie; and Lemon, Strawberry, and Poppy Meringue

Event: Join Ashley in Conversation with John T. Edge

John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and one of the most important voices in Southern food, is coming to Raleigh on May 30th to celebrate the release of his new book, The Potlikker Papers. He'll be joined in conversation with our very own Ashley Christensen! The event is free to attend; details are here.

James Beard Award 2014Best Chef: Southeast
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Beasley's Chicken + Honey,
Chuck's, Fox Liquor Bar

237 S. Wilmington St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[919] 322-0127, 322-0126, 322-0128 Respectively

Bridge Club

105 W. Hargett St, Raleigh NC, 27601

Death & Taxes

105 W. Hargett St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[984] 242-0218

Poole's Diner

426 S. McDowell St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[919] 832-4477