Restaurant meals from home

My cookbook collection includes a number of restaurant cookbooks.  Some of them can be rather daunting (Thomas Keller’s French Laundry) but many have produced consistent winners with accessible ingredients and manageable recipes.  One of my favorites is Mustards Grill.  It provided the inspiration for our New Year’s Eve dinner – Mongolian pork chops with a Chinese style mustard sauce and mashed potatoes.  The marinade was excellent and the good news is that there is leftover which will be used for another meal.

Keith picked tonight’s meal from Galatoire’s Cookbook.  We ate at Galatoire’s when we were in New Orleans.  It is a marvelous old-fashioned restaurant and tonight we are having Crab Sardou – sautéed crab on top of creamed spinach with artichoke hearts and Hollandaise sauce.  Just the way to finish the holiday excess and start back to lighter meals.

Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year and I look forward to sharing our meals with you in 2017.


Saturday night cooking

I love restaurant cookbooks.  It’s fun to get cookbooks from restaurants where you have eaten and also from restaurants you would like to visit.  Some of my favorites in the latter category are The Mustard Grill Napa ValleyGotham Bar and Grill and The Inn at Little Washington.  I have made dishes from all three and we have loved eating them (and it costs a lot less money!)  These are not the cookbooks to turn to for weeknight cooking but are perfect for Saturday night entertainment.

We had no plans last night and after a busy day with a lot of errands, we thought an exotic meal would be just the thing.  We started talking about fish and Keith was remembering a wonderful fish dish that he had at Commander’s Palace when we went to New Orleans.  We have their cookbook in addition to the one from Galatoire’s, another restaurant we loved on our trip.  After looking through both we decided to adapt a recipe from Galatoire’s.  The recipe called for black drum which is not a fish you find in our area.  We found some beautiful grouper and went with that instead.

Here is what we did:

Potato crusted grouper (for 2)

  • 1 baking potato
  • 5 – 6 generous dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • white pepper
  • 1 grouper fillet
  • flour
  • clarified butter (I had leftover ghee in the fridge from when I made Tikka Masala)

Beurre blanc sauce

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • juice of other 1/2 lemon
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3/4 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 350.

Shred the potato using a box grater.  Put shredded potato in a bowl with tabasco and lemon juice and mix together with a spoon.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and dust with flour.

Squeeze the liquid out of the potatoes and spread half of it on parchment paper in about the same size and shape as the fish (we actually cut the grouper in half so that we could cook the thicker part a little longer).  Put the fish on top of the potatoes and then spread other half on top of the fish.

Heat a heavy oven proof skillet over high heat with about 2 TB of the clarified butter.  When the pan is very hot (we probably should have given ours a little longer), carefully slide the potato crusted fish into the pan.  After about 5 minutes, carefully turn the fish and then place in oven for 10 – 12 minutes.  (We took the thinner piece out at 10 minutes and left the thicker end in for a few more.  Grouper is a dense fish and we wanted it cooked through.)

While the fish is in the oven, make the beurre blanc.  Bring the wine, lemon juice, shallot and thyme to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes until reduced to about 1 TB.  Reduce heat and whisk in butter, about a tablespoon at a time.  Strain through a mesh strainer.  Serve with fish.

I thought it needed something green so I sautéed some baby spinach in a little bit of butter and garlic.  We each had half of the thin part of the fish and half of the thick part.  (It would look more elegant in one piece.)  And we used our fish plates.  The whole thing was absolutely delicious, not too technically difficult and a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening!

Saturday night dinner in!

Saturday night dinner in!