Ashley Christensen Restaurants

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Category: Recipes

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.

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Photo: Bryan Gardner, Wall Street Journal

January is the time when we all strive to lighten up after the indulgence of the holiday season. In this take on spaghetti carbonara, Ashley swaps roasted spaghetti squash for noodles, which keeps the dish gluten free and lighter than the traditional version. This recipe appeared in the Wall Street Journal in a four-part series in the "Slow Food Fast" column. Read the full story here.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Total time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1½ cups grated Parmesan, plus more to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Season squash generously with salt and pepper, then place, cut-side down, on lined baking sheet. Roast squash until fork tender, 25-30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, set a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon crisps, 10-15 minutes. Fill a medium pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer.

3. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together yolks and Parmesan. Mixture should be as thick as glue; add more cheese if needed. Run the tines of a fork through the cooked squash so flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands. Carefully transfer strands to pan with bacon and gently stir to combine.

4. Transfer squash-bacon mixture to bowl with eggs and gently toss to combine, taking care to keep strands intact. Set bowl over pot of simmering water and gently toss squash until sauce thickens and coats strands, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, and add more cheese to taste. Serve immediately.

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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237 S. Wilmington St, Raleigh NC, 27601

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

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105 W. Hargett St, Raleigh NC, 27601

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105 W. Hargett St, Raleigh NC, 27601

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426 S. McDowell St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[919] 832-4477