Comfort Foods The Gourmet Way

Early Show - John Delucie is an executive chef at the Waverly Inn in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. - September 24, 2008.
John Delucie is executive chef of the Waverly Inn in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

The Waverly has become a very hot table to get. In fact, since it started serving again after a grand reopening in 2006, it still hasn't officially "opened" the menu, which calls itself a preview menu. If you want a table, you have to come by the reservation desk from the hours of 6:30 to 11:15, and even then, it's anybody's guess.

Delucie's specialty is gourmet comfort food, and the patrons line up for it.

On The Early Show Wednesday, he showed how to cook salmon on a cedar plank, which adds an extra smoky flavor to the fish. See that? You can still get use out of your grill, even as the weather chills!

Delucie also gave his secrets to a delicious chicken pot pie!

He's penning a memoir to be titled "The Hunger." It's due out early next year.


Trout on Cedar Plank, with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 2

1 whole trout(about 1 pound), bones-in, split down the center Kosher salt and pepper to taste Olive oil
1 cedar plank (available on line or in most gourmet stores)
1 bunch carrots
1 bulb fennel, sliced in eighths
1 bell pepper, roasted and peeled
1 bunch thyme
3 cloves garlic

For the vegetables:
Marinate all the vegetables separately in olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, thyme or an herb of your choice, and crushed garlic cloves for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat grill
Place vegetables on grill on moderately heated portion. Once grill marks are made, move to a cooler place on the grill to finish cooking.

For fish:
Season flesh side of fish with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Soak cedar plank in water for 20 minutes
Place fish skin-side down on cedar plank, and place plank on medium high heat and close top of grill, checking after 6 minutes. Trout should cook for about 6 - 10 minutes depending on your grill.

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 4.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup fresh or frozen pearl onions
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2-1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, trimmed and cut into quarters
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken, chopped onion, celery, and chopped carrots in a large stockpot; season with salt and pepper and enough water to cover. Wrap thyme and garlic in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine to enclose; add to pot. Cover pot and place over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 25 minutes. Strain, discarding vegetables, and reserve chicken and liquids separately; let cool and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice-water bath. Add baby carrots to boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to ice-water bath until cool. Drain; set aside. Place peas in boiling water and cook about 30 seconds; drain and set aside. Add pearl onions to boiling water and cook about 1 minute, transfer to ice-water bath until cool. Drain; set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes; let cool.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and place in a large nonreactive bowl along with baby carrots, peas, pearl onions, and mushrooms; set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and heavy cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Add to bowl with chicken and vegetables; toss to combine.

Divide mixture evenly between four 13-ounce shallow baking dishes. Cut puff pastry into four 8-inch circles and place on top of each of the bowls, crimping edges as desired. Cut a slit in the center of each piece of puff pastry to allow steam to escape; brush beaten egg over puff pastry.

Transfer bowls to a baking sheet. Bake until puff pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.