Ashley Christensen Restaurants

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Category: Recipes

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.

Recipe: Oyster Pan Roast

Oyster and Turnip Pan Roast

Total Time: 35 minutes Serves: 4

Ready in about half an hour, this creamy oyster stew is a perfect foil against cold winter nights. Turnips add a kick to create balance. This recipe appeared in the Wall Street Journal in a four-part series in the "Slow Food Fast" column. Read the full story here.

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 turnip bulbs, peeled and cut and ¾-inch dice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 24 freshly shucked oysters, juices reserved
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups thinly sliced turnip greens and/or arugula
  • 16 saltines
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set a medium pot over medium heat and swirl in olive oil. Stir in onions, garlic and turnips, and cook until onions are translucent, 7-9 minutes.

2. Add wine and bring liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until turnips begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Stir in mustard, cream and reserved oyster juices. Bring to a simmer, then stir in turnip greens and simmer until greens wilt, about 2 minutes. Add oysters and immediately remove pan from heat. Let oysters poach until plump and heated through, 3-5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, brush saltines with butter and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast until golden, about 5 minutes. Season oyster pan roast with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with warm saltines.

Recipe: Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Hot Honey

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.

SERVES 4

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Neutral vegetable oil, for frying

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 cups whole buttermilk

 

HOT HONEY:

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.

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