An Uncommon Spice
Great food sends chills down my spine, puts tingles in my belly, and makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, almost like a daydream. When Chef Anthony Lamas of Louisville, Kentucky, cooks with bourbon, I taste flavors I’ve never found in food before. He uses my beloved whiskey as an uncommon spice with savories, in desserts, and in gamebird preparations—but never too much and never too little.
“As far as I’m concerned, bourbon is its own food group,” says Lamas, owner of Seviche, a Latin restaurant in Louisville. “You don’t want raw alcohol flavor. You want a hint.” Fortunately, you can find bourbon in every zip code. So cook away with a versatile ingredient that in Kentucky is a little like adding salt and pepper to your recipes.
Just ask Lamas: “I’ll introduce bourbon to grits, Apple bread pudding, macadamia ice cream, mint pesto lamb, shrimp with bourbon orange glaze, Pineapple, ginger, sesame soy broth . . . .”
1 -Banana Bourbon Pudding (see recipe below)
2 -Sweet Tea Quail with Braised Kale and Chipotle Sorghum Bourbon Glaz
3 -Tuna Old Fashioned
4 -Lamb Chorizo Albondigas with Mint Chimichurri
5 -Crispy Chicken Livers with Caramelized Shallots and Pablano Demi-Glace
6 -Shrimp & Grits Chipotle Bourbon Orange Glaze
7 -Smoked Cheddar Chipotle Sweet Corn Grit Cake
Banana Bourbon Pudding Recipe
12 cups milk
3 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
16 egg yolks
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups bourbon
1. Heat 10 cups of the milk in a large saucepan until it steams and turn off burner.
2. In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly temper this mixture with half of the steamed milk and pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remainder of the milk and whisk constantly until it comes to a boil.
3. Turn down the heat to low and then let the pudding come to a simmer. Turn off the heat and whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. Cover the pudding with parchment paper and set in refrigeration until completely cooled.
Vanilla Wafer Recipe
2 sticks butter (4 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
6 ounces heavy cream
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1. Cream butter and sugar with the vanilla, honey and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle until fluffy. Gradually incorporate the egg yolks slowly and one at a time until well blended. Alternately add the flour and baking soda mixture with the cream until just incorporated. Turn this batter out onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper greased with pan spray.
2. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes until its golden brown. Remove from the pan to a cooling rack and let cool.
Coconut Meringue Recipe
6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup coconut
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip six egg whites with the cream of tartar to the “soft peak” stage. Slowly add the sugar in a steady stream and whip until you reach the “stiff peak” stage.
2. Quickly mix in the coconut, making sure to keep the mixture very stiff. Using a ring mold, make 24 circles of this mixture on a parchment-lined full sheet pan greased with pan spray. Make sure that you smooth out all of the tops using the back of a spoon in a circular motion.
3. Using a wooden skewer, pull little peaks up from the meringue and use a torch to lightly brown them. Bake the meringues in a preheated 250 degree oven for 55 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave in the oven until cooled.
Whipped Cream Recipe
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 1 quart of cream until you reach the soft peak stage and gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Whip until very stiff peaks form on the surface when you pull up with a spoon. Fill a pastry bag with the whipped cream.
4 ounces dulce de leche
Assembling the Banana Pudding
1. Arrange 24 Manhattan glasses on a sheet pan. You’ll fill the glasses with the different layers.
2. Using a ring mold, cut out 24 circles of vanilla wafers and put one in the bottom of each glass.
3. Using a 4-ounce ladle, layer each glass with 4 ounces of the pudding. Using the pastry bag, make a circle, in an even layer, of the whipped cream and smooth out with the back of a spoon.
4. Top the whipped cream with the remaining crumbs from the scraps of the cut-out vanilla wafers. Use a half of a banana to make a layer of uniform banana slices and drizzle with dulce de leche. Top off with one of the coconut meringues.
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