Ashley Christensen Restaurants

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Category: Bridge Club

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.

Event: Cookbook Party and Signing with Joshua McFadden

On June 20th, we’re honored to welcome Joshua McFadden, chef of Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon, to Raleigh to celebrate his new cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables. The indy food magazine Lucky Peach called it “the vegetable cookbook you need.” And Bon Appetit coos, “Trust me: Read this book and you’ll never look at cabbage the same way again.”

Guests will be treated to tastes of six of the recipes from Joshua’s brilliant book, including dishes like Chilled Seafood Salad with Fennel, Radish, Basil and Creme Fraiche and Fried Cauliflower with Spicy Fish Sauce, prepared by Chef Ashley Christensen and her team. The ticket also includes beer, wine and a cocktail pairings from the bar. Ashley will also host a brief Q&A with Joshua about his process writing the cookbook and his persepctive on cooking. It will be followed by a book signing, during which Joshua will be available to sign and personalize your copy of Six Seasons.

Copies of the book are not included in the ticket price but will be available for purchase at the event through Quail Ridge Books.

Tickets are $55 and can be purchased here.

Stir the Pot, featuring Asha Gomez

We are thrilled to announce that Asha Gomez, chef and author of the award-winning cookbook, My Two Souths, will be our guest chef for our spring edition of Stir the Pot, our dinner series benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance.

On Sunday, April 23rd, Asha will cook a multi-course dinner at Poole's Diner that celebrates her unique culinary vantage point, a blend of Southern traditions as well as the flavors and recipes from her birthplace, India. Purchase your ticket here.

On Monday, April 24th, we gather at Bridge Club, our private events venue, for a potluck. Help us welcome Asha to Raleigh by bringing a dish to share. We'll provide the main course, and our friends from High Wire Distillery in Charleston will be on hand pouring some of their signature libations. Purchase your ticket here.

Y’All the People: A Dinner Benefiting the ACLU

The restaurant industry depends on the dedication and work of immigrants, and thrives through the contributions of this diverse group.

On March 26th, more than 20 chefs and beverage professionals from all over North Carolina are gathering together to cook a meal in the spirit of unity and stand in support of our immigrant team members, family members, and guests.

Join us for this very special multi-course dinner, which will benefit the ACLU of North Carolina's important work to protect the constitutional rights of immigrants and all North Carolinians. Purchase your tickets here; seats are very limited.

Participating chefs and groups include:

  • Ashley Christensen, AC Restaurants, Raleigh
  • Andrew Ullom, AC Restaurants, Raleigh
  • Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough
  • Gray Brooks, Pizzeria Toro and Littler, Durham
  • Bill Smith, Crook’s Corner, Chapel Hill
  • Vansana Nolintha, Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana, Raleigh
  • Angela Salamanca, Centro and Gallo Pelon, Raleigh
  • Steven Greene, Heron’s at the Umstead, Cary
  • Beth Littlejohn, Player’s Retreat, Raleigh
  • Phoebe Lawless, Scratch Bakery, Durham
  • Scott Crawford, Crawford & Son, Raleigh
  • Elliott Moss, Buxton Hall BBQ, Asheville
  • Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh
  • Matt Kelly, Mateo Tapas, Durham
  • Daniel Benjamin, lucettegrace, Raleigh
  • Vivian Howard, The Chef & The Farmer, Kinston
  • Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson
  • Caroline Morrison, Fiction Kitchen, Raleigh
  • Miguel Torres, Lantern, Chapel Hill
  • Jeff Seizer, Royale, Raleigh
  • Les Stewart, Trophy Brewing, Raleigh
  • Nick Johnson, Ponysaurus Brewing, Durham
  • Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam Brewery, Durham
  • Cathead Distillery

 

This event will include a multi-course, family style seated dinner (with cocktail, beer and wine pairing), followed by dessert and a small auction.

Due to the nature of this event, individual dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Recipe: Andrew’s Gingerbread Cookies

gingerbreadcookies

'Tis the season of cookie baking! So we asked our executive pastry chef, Andrew Ullom, to share his recipe for the holiday favorite, gingerbread cookies. He kindly obliged, and now we all get to reap the benefits!

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

 

For the cookies:

5½ cups all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1¼ cups brown sugar, packed

1 cup sorghum (or molasses)

2 large eggs

 

For the royal icing:

2 large egg whites

2 pounds powdered sugar

1/3 cup whole milk

Make the cookies: In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until nice and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the sorghum and mix thoroughly for another minute. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating between each addition to fully combine.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 1-inch-thick disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°. When the oven is ready, roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s ¼-inch thick and cut out into desired shapes (for an extra crispy cookie, roll to 1/8-inch thickness). Transfer to cookie sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and bake for 12 to 14 minutes until just brown around the edges, but still soft in the middle. Let cool fully before decorating. The cookies will harden as they cool.

Make the icing: In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, sugar and milk to combine. The mixture should thicken, but still able to be piped. If you'd like a thinner consistency to pipe and cover the cookies with icing, add a touch more milk until it's a bit runny. The icing will harden as it sits. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag fitted with the tip of your choice and decorate your cookies to your preference.

James Beard Award 2014Best Chef: Southeast
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