Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26651

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

The Buttermilk Dinner (and spoonbread recipe)

by Jenise » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:57 pm

I hate milk. And I think I'd die if I had to drink a glass of thick, lumpy buttermilk. But from the day I first tasted Judy Rodgers' (Zuni Café, San Francisco) buttermilk mashed potatoes, I've been fascinated by what this ingredient can do for food. And so it was that I put a 24 hour buttermilk-soaked roast chicken on the menu for last night to see if it met the promise for glassy, crisp skin. Anxious to use the rest of the quart I added a buttermilk spoonbread to the menu, and in one of those out-of-left-field lucky turns, wherein I went to replenish my refrigerator staple Maytag blue cheese, the store was completely out of that product but did have a Buttermilk Blue. This meal was meant to be!

The salad: chopped fresh, raw walnuts, a Belgian endive thinly sliced, three mandoline-shaved Brussels sprouts, a handful of arugula, crumbled Buttermilk Blue, a green onion, and a simple dressing of red wine vinegar and canola/roasted nut oils. Killer. The sweet/strong/nutty/bitter greens covered all the bases and were tempered by sweet nutmeats and blue cheese. If you have never teamed raw walnuts and blue cheese for a salad, you've missed out on one of the greatest salad combinations for almost any set of mixed greens (excluding iceberg, which I love but not in this). And if you're careful with the vinegar, the cheese and the tannins of the walnuts actually make this a salad for serving with red wine.

The chicken: I followed a NYT recipe that seasoned the buttermilk with garlic, rosemary and honey to buttermilk. I substituted maple syrup. Have to say that on the larger pieces of meat I didn't find the rosemary or sweetness came through very much though the garlic was quite pronounced--it wasn't a complete thru-flavor of the kind brining delivers, and therefore I didn't find it completely successful on a whole (spatchcocked for better marinade absorption) chicken. BUT OH MY GOD THE WINGS. Brownish black, creamy and crisp at the same time with all the flavors present. I am going to repeat this marinade in the near future, wings only. Will probably add a bit more sweetness and a touch of heat, too, maybe sriracha.

The buttermilk spoonbread: my new tolerance for scrambled eggs has led to a flirtation with soufflés, which also opened the door for spoonbreads. I've used this one recipe several different ways, but last night I arrived at the ultimate: a mixture of two different cornmeals for both fluff and crunch, and the addition of grated parmesan to amp up the tang on the buttermilk and make a little Italian connection with the chicken's rosemary element. I made enough for four servings just to use up the buttermilk; thought I might serve Bob the leftovers for breakfast with a sausage patty. Poor Bob: we ate it all last night, and if I had made enough for six we'd have eaten that too. This was SO good!

All in all a great meal progression from the cook's point of view, too; a totally efficient mise en place on the fly. First, turn on the oven and decant a red wine. Next, get the chicken ready for the oven. Then assemble the salad ingredients in a bowl and chill, while making the cornmeal mixture for the spoonbread. Also separate three eggs, and grease a soufflé dish. Set the cornmeal mixture aside to cool. This will have taken you all of just ten minutes. Now pour a glass of white wine. Put the chicken in the oven, set the timer for 25 minutes, and take wine outside to the patio and relax. When the timer goes off, return to kitchen. Stir the yolks into the cornmeal mixture, beat the egg whites, fold in and pour the mixture into soufflé dish. Add to oven. Set the timer again, and return to patio with your first course salad. Pour more white wine if needed or switch to red. Enjoy salad course while spoonbread and chicken finish cooking. When the timer goes off again, buss salad plates to the kitchen and return with roast chicken and spoonbread.

Here's the recipe for my spoonbread.

Tangy Buttermilk Spoonbread

1 1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 c basic yellow or white cornmeal
1/4 c coarser grained polenta cornmeal
2 tblsp butter
3 eggs
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
two pinches salt

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a soufflé dish. In a small saucepan, heat buttermilk and whisk in cornmeal. Stir until the mixture thickens and gets smooth and glossy, which takes just a few minutes, add butter and salt. Set aside to cool. Separate the eggs.

When the cornmeal mixture is cool, stir in the egg yolks and the parmesan cheese. Separately, beat the egg whites to soft peak and then fold gently into the cornmeal-yolk mixture. Bake about 25 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Serve immediately.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Karen/NoCA

Rank

Hunter/Gatherer

Posts

5264

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: The Buttermilk Dinner (and spoonbread recipe)

by Karen/NoCA » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:35 pm

Sounds like you had some great food there.
More often than not, I soak chicken in buttermilk and sometimes, Tabasco depending on what I am using it for. I make pancakes with it and pour it over strawberries. It is a wonderful ingredient. Now I have an idea for dinner tomorrow night.
User avatar
User

Carrie L.

Rank

Golfball Gourmet

Posts

2525

Joined

Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:12 am

Location

Extreme Southwest & Extreme Northeast

Re: The Buttermilk Dinner (and spoonbread recipe)

by Carrie L. » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:12 am

So glad you posted this. Our best friends are coming to see us in early October and he is (has?) celiac, so that spoon bread will be perfect as a side for one of the dinners. Also, your salad sounded exactly like something I would love and have in fact made something similar. I'm crazy about the combination of raw walnuts and blue cheese. Especially if the walnuts are super fresh, which I'm sure yours were.
But the chicken... Was the skin crispy? I know the wings were, but the rest?

Incidentally, I made roasted chicken last night too, spatchcocked atop sliced onions and lemon, and seasoned simply with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and a generous dose of Herbs de Provence (in honor of our few remaining summer days here in Maine.) Well, I thought it was delicious, but my "supertaster" hubby detected an herb in the mixture he was not too fond of. Guess HdP will be out of my repertoire.
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26651

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: The Buttermilk Dinner (and spoonbread recipe)

by Jenise » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:04 pm

Carrie, the skin wasn't as crispy as I hoped it would be. Not bad, but not exceptionally so, and not as much as the time I put some roast chickens in an almost-cold oven with just a fan on to hold them before roasting because my guests were suddenly going to be an hour or so later than originally scheduled. The fan dehydrated the skin--like Peking Duck--talk about glass! My dinner guest was a professional chef and he was blown away by that skin--never had anything like it on a chicken, didn't know how to achieve it. I didn't tell him it was a lucky accident. :) So that's my gold standard, and this didn't meet it. But really my complaint was mostly that intensely flavored buttermilk barely penetrated the breast meat--brining is better.

You'll like the bread pudding, it will work out great for your guest.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26651

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: The Buttermilk Dinner (and spoonbread recipe)

by Jenise » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:41 pm

Carrie, I failed to mention that I highly reccomend using a bain marie for this spoonbread.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign