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Category: Recipes

Recipe: Embered Sweet Corn with Lime and Basil Butter

Looking to become a grillmaster this summer? We asked the cooks at Death & Taxes, our wood-fire focused restaurant, for tips and tricks to harnessing the power of the grill. (Make a reservation at Death & Taxes here.)

Picking Your Fuel

Gas grills are great for quick, easy grilling in the summer, but they don’t offer the same flavor or intense heat that you get from grilling with wood or charcoal. At home, we opt for natural hardwood charcoal.

Lighting the Grill

The best way to light your grill quick is to put newspaper or cardboard under the charcoal and light it, let the coals turn gray and wait until they are mostly covered in ash before you start grilling. At home, use a charcoal chimney, which will help the coals ignite more quickly. Place your paper in the bottom of the chimney, pile the charcoal on top, and light the paper from the bottom end of the chimney. Do not use lighter fluid—it can affect the taste of the food.

Arranging Your Flame

Once the charcoal is going, carefully pour it out of the chimney and into the grill. We suggest pouring the charcoal into a pile on one side of the grill, so you have a hot direct heat zone, and a cooler indirect heat zone. This is sometimes called “banking the coals” to one side. Doing this allows you to char your ingredients on the direct heat side, then move them over to finish cooking them without burning them on the indirect heat side.

Or, ditch the grill grates altogether and try cooking directly in the embers, a technique we use often at Death & Taxes. This is where grill baskets really come in handy. Pile hearty ingredients (like oysters, for instance) into the grill basket, and then carefully nestle the basket into the embers of your charcoal. Get the recipe for roasted oysters here. Or, try cooking delicate vegetables in the grill basket, like corn kernels. See our recipe for embered corn below.

What to Grill

Classics are classics for a reason: we love to grill steaks, sausages, chicken thighs, and corn just as much as the next person. But if you want to get fancy and impress your friends, try grilling avocados or peaches. Wipe the cut surface of the fruit with neutral vegetable oil before you place it cut side down on the grill. Soft delicate ingredients like peaches only need a few minutes on the grill, so watch carefully. Serve peaches with ice cream, or as part of a savory summer salad.

Grilling Housekeeping

Make sure your grill is set up away from the house, never leave it unattended, and always have a backup plan in case your fire gets bigger than you can control.

Lastly, cleaning your grill is very important. The most effective way to clean your grill is to use agrill brush and a hot fire. Let the grill get really hot so it burns off whatever's left on the grill, then use the brush on the grates to finish cleaning.

Embered Sweet Corn with Lime and Basil Butter

Serves 4

6 ears fresh corn, shucked

8-12 large basil leaves, torn

Fine sea salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 limes

Prepare a grill with charcoal; arrange the charcoal in an even layer. Place a grill basket with fine holes directly on coals to preheat for about 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels, and a few pieces of torn basil to the hot basket and season with sea salt. Roast directly on the coals until the kernels start to char, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, especially with fresh sweet corn.

Remove from heat and transfer the corn into a large metal mixing bowl. Toss with the butter (it will melt from the residual heat of the corn), more torn basil, and the finely grated zest and juice from both limes. Add more sea salt to taste, and serve immediately.

 

AC Restaurants Closed on July 16th

We are closed July 16thfor our annual staff appreciation day. While we’re away you can still enjoy our food, by using recipes from our cookbook, Poole’s Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. There are so many great recipes to choose from, but this time of year we’re particularly fond of making the watermelon salad. It’s one of our favorite recipes and it’s perfect for a hot summer day.

Enjoy this recipe and we’ll see you on the 17th!

Watermelon Salad with Avocado, Chèvre, Basil, and Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

4 (2-inch-thick) slices of ripe watermelon

Sea salt

Black pepper in a mill

2 ripe avocados

4 ounces chèvre

8 fresh basil leaves

¼ cup Sweet Onion Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Place a watermelon slice on each of four plates and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cut each avocado in half, remove the pit, and carefully remove the peel. Thinly slice the avocado halves, leaving ½ inch at the top so that they stay together. Gently press at the center to form a fan. Season each half with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper. Place 1 avocado portion on top of each watermelon slice. Crumble 1 ounce of the chèvre over each plate. Tear the basil leaves into pieces and distribute over the four plates. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each plate and serve.

For the sweet onion vinaigrette: In a mixing bowl, cover 3 table­spoons minced sweet onions with 1/3 cup champagne vinegar. Let marinate for 15 minutes. Using a whisk, stir in 2 teaspoons honey and a pinch of salt. Begin whisking the vinegar mixture in a circular motion. Slowly drizzle 1 cup neutral vegetable oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking continuously until all of the oil is added to the bowl and the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

Recipe: Roasted Oysters with Preserved Lemon & Chili Butter

These oysters are the stars of the show at Death & Taxes, where the wood fire grill is the focus. If you make the preserved lemon gremolata and the chili butter ahead, these come together pretty quickly. Serve them as an appetizer to a grilled steak.

Yield: 24 oysters

For the preserved lemons:

8 lemons

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup sugar

 

For the gremolata:

½ preserved lemon rind, finely diced

½ clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 bunch parsley

Juice from ½ lemon

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt to taste

 

For the oysters:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon chili paste or sambal

24 oyster, shucked, on the half shell

Make the preserved lemons: Thoroughly wash and scrub each lemon. Slice each lemon as if you were cutting it into quarters lengthwise, starting from the top and cutting only to within ½ inch of the bottom; do not cut all the way through. In a mixing bowl combine the salt and sugar.

Carefully pack each lemon incision with the salt mixture and place them with the incisions facing up in a container just large enough to fit them snugly. (A Tupperware or other square container with high sides will work.) Place a layer of plastic wrap directly over the lemons, inside the container. You want to create a seal so the lemons are protected. Place a small plate or lid smaller than the container on the lemons to weigh them down. Keep the container at room temperature for 4 days to a week. Remove the weight and plastic. Cover the container with tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. The lemons should be ready to use in about a week and will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. They can also be frozen.

Make the gremolata: Carefully remove the rind from ½ a preserved lemon, being careful to remove all pith. Finely dice the rind and set aside.

In a food processor combine the garlic, parsley, lemon juice. Pulse until the garlic and parsley are finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the diced preserved lemon. Season with fine sea salt to taste.

Make the oysters: Prepare a charcoal grill, removing the top grill grate.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice and zest, and chili paste with a fork until smooth. Line a grill basket with rock salt or crumpled tin foil. Arrange the oysters in the basket, in an even layer (you may have to work in batches), being careful not to tip them. Top each oyster with about 2 teaspoons of the butter. Place the basket directly in the embers and roast for about 5 minutes until the butter is melted and starts to boil.

Transfer the oysters to a platter and top each oyster with ½ teaspoon of the gremolata. Serve warm.

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.

Recipe: Oyster Mushrooms and Asparagus with Sherry & Cream

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

Serves 8

3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
2 pounds oyster mushrooms, tough stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
Sea salt
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.

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