On Sunday, May 7th, Ashley hits the road to Asheville to cook a special dinner with one of our favorite people, chef Elliott Moss, and his team at Buxton Hall BBQ. Ashley and Elliott will be collaborating on a menu that features dishes from both of their cookbooks, Poole’s: Recipes & Stories from a Modern Diner, and Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke. Get your tickets here.
This oyster mushroom dish is available at Poole's Diner in some form all year round. In the summer, we might use sweet corn; in the winter, brussels sprouts or cauliflower. But during spring, you'll always find it featuring asparagus, and it might be our favorite version of all. This recipe is excerpted from our cookbook, Poole's: Recipe and Stories from a Modern Diner, which is available for purchase here or anywhere books are sold.
Oyster Mushrooms and Asparagus with Sherry and Cream
3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
2 pounds oyster mushrooms, tough stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 ⁄4 cup minced shallots
4 thyme sprigs
2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup amontillado sherry (I like Lustau)
3⁄4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons Porcini Butter (see Note)
Juice of 1 ⁄2 lemon
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and let sear, stirring a few times, until the moisture they release has evaporated and the edges begin to crisp and they get caramelized. Season lightly with salt.
Add the shallots and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine and coat everything. Stir in the asparagus, then add the sherry and deglaze the pan by swirling and scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Cook until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters, stirring occasionally; this will take about 3 minutes. Add the cream and let it reduce until it’s thickened slightly and coats the asparagus and mushrooms, about another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cold butters.
Stir in the lemon juice, season with salt to taste, and serve immediately.
Note: We make porcini butter by reconstituting 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms and blending them with 1 cup (2 sticks) butter. You can substitute regular unsalted butter if you don't want to take the extra step.
Looking to make Ashley's signature fried chicken recipe at home? Look no further. This recipe, from Ashley's cookbook Poole's: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner, is inspired by the fried chicken her mother used to make when she was a child. The somewhat unconventional move of drizzling honey over the chicken came about because of her dad, who was a hobbyist beekeeper and gardener.
3 tablespoons sugar
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Neutral vegetable oil, for frying
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups whole buttermilk
1/2 cup honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
5 small thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
3 dried pequín chiles (or chiles de àrbol)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Combine 6 tablespoons salt, the sugar, and 4 cups water in a large pot and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 4 more cups cold water. Add the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the chicken pieces dry.
When you’re ready to fry the chicken, pour enough oil into a large cast-iron skillet to come halfway up the sides and heat until it reaches 325°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Meanwhile, put the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a paper grocery bag, fold closed, and shake to combine. Fill a large bowl with the buttermilk. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and pat them dry. Discard the brine. One by one, dip the chicken pieces in the buttermilk, lift to drain the excess back into the bowl, then place in the grocery bag with the flour mixture. When all of the chicken is in the bag, fold the bag closed and shake for about 30 seconds to coat the chicken thoroughly with the flour mixture.
Lift the chicken pieces from the bag and shake off the excess flour. Add the pieces to the skillet, making sure not to crowd the pan and adjusting the heat of the oil as necessary to maintain 325°F. Fry the pieces, turning once, until done (155°F on the interior for white meat, 165°F on the interior for dark meat); this will take about 9 minutes for wings and drumsticks, 11 to 12 minutes for thighs and breasts. Transfer the chicken to the lined baking sheet and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, make the hot honey. Warm the honey, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and chiles in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes; the honey will begin to foam slightly. Remove from the heat and add the butter, gently swirling until it’s completely melted.
Arrange the chicken on a platter and spoon some of the hot honey and herbs over the top of the chicken. Pass around the remaining honey on the side.
The clock is ticking and there are only a few more chances left to get your copy of the Poole's cookbook signed by chef Ashley Christensen. Please join us at one of the following local book signings.
December 10, 10 am to 2pm: Bridge Club Holiday Market, Bridge Club, Raleigh Join us at Bridge Club, AC Restaurants' private events space, for a special Holiday Market featuring some of our favorite local vendors. Chef Ashley Christensen and our executive pastry chef, Andrew Ullom, will each be giving cooking demos, and we’ll be selling signed copies of the Poole’s cookbook, as well as gift certificates to all the AC Restaurants properties. Come grab a mimosa and get your holiday shopping done! Participating vendors include: HAAND Ceramics, Peppertrain Beads, Farmer's Daughter, Videri Chocolate, o2 Fitness, and Short Stack Editions. Free to attend, RSVP here.
December 11, 2pm: Book signing with Short Stack Editions, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh Get your copy of the Poole's cookbook signed by Ashley at this meet and greet event. Free to attend.
December 13, 5 to 7:30 pm: Book signing at Poole's Diner, Raleigh In honor of the Poole's 9-year anniversary, we'll be tipping back some champagne and signing some books at the counter where it all began.
December 17, 2 to 3:30pm: Book signing, Page 158, Wake Forest Get your copy of the Poole's cookbook signed by Ashley at this meet and greet event. Free to attend.
December 17, 6 to 8pm: Book signing, Whisk, Cary Get your copy of the Poole's cookbook signed by Ashley at this meet and greet event. Free to attend.
We're so excited to be teaming up with a dream team of Atlanta chefs and friends in support of the Southern Foodways Alliance. We hope to see you there!