Recently, food critic Adam Platt visited élan, the new restaurant from David Waltuck of Chanterelle fame. The review more or less boils down to one suggestion: skip élan, and pick up a copy of Waltuck’s cookbook Staff Meals instead. According to Platt, Staff Meals is a “durably excellent cookbook… and contains seminal chef-savvy recipes for now-trendy comfort-food specialties like burgers, fried chicken, and even a corn dog.”
Platt calls out a few of the recipes from the book including chicken pot pie, buttermilk-dipped fried chicken, and the classic burger with fresh butter, chopped garlic, and Dijon, but the one we felt most compelled to share (and make… and eat… immediately), is the Staff Meals Aioli BLT.
- 1 pound good-quality, thickly sliced smoked bacon
- 12 slices good-quality white bread, toasted
- ½ cup Aïoli
- 6 leaves romaine lettuce
- 6 large slices fresh, ripe tomato
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cook the bacon as directed in the box on the following page.
- Lay out 6 of the bread slices and spread each with some of the aïoli, using about ¼ cup. Assemble the sandwiches by layering on the lettuce, tomato, and bacon, then sprinkle a healthy grinding of pepper over it all.
- Spread the remaining aïoli on the remaining bread slices, then place 1 slice on each sandwich, aïoli-side down. Press down lightly and cut crosswise into halves to serve.
- For the Aïoli: Place the egg yolks, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Process until the mixture is frothy, it turns lighter in color, and the garlic is finely chopped, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly add the oils through the feed tube in a thin, steady stream, about 2 minutes. The aïoli will emulsify nicely to a thick, smooth consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The Secret of Perfect Bacon: When restaurants use bacon, they generally need to cook a lot of it. Instead of frying it in a pan on top of the stove, professional cooks lay the bacon strips in a sheet pan (you could also use a rimmed baking sheet, such as a jelly-roll pan) and bake in a preheated 350°F oven until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels before using. The bacon strips will curl up very little, if at all; they usually come out good and flat, which makes them easier to use.
For more recipes like this, check out Staff Meals from Chanterelle by David Waltuck.