Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini has practiced his culinary artistry in places as diverse as his native Ohio, New York City, Italy, France and England.
And, in "THE Dish" on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Carmellini shared the recipe for his ultimate dish: his Fried Chicken with Sides.
What is it about American food that inspires Carmellini?
"When I think about American food, I think about the road, because that's how I grew up - and that's how I learned first-hand about American cooking," he says on his website. "From childhood family road trips between Ohio and Florida (full of Southern grub and citrus straight from the trees); cross-country hauls in search of the Great American Breakfast; and five-meal-a-day swings through barbeque country, I've been horizon-bound from behind a dashboard for most of my life. In big cities, I've eaten through local cuisines from around the world in a single day thinking, this is what makes America awesome."
Carmellini has received James Beard Awards, a Food & Wine Best New Chef nod and a three-star review from The New York Times.
His other famous eatery, besides The Dutch in SoHo, is Locanda Verde in Robert De Niro's Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca.
Carmellini has also written two cookbooks with his wife, Gwen Hyman: "Urban Italian: True Stories and Simple Recipes from a Life In Food" and "American Flavor."
On "THE Dish," a different famous chef each week reveals what he or she would have if they could have just one meal. That's because for us, "THE Dish" is about the moment, the place, and the person you would share it with. It's about the emotion behind the food, it's about the conversation and the meal itself. We want to get to know these chefs on a deeper level and hope our viewers do, as well.
FOR THE BUTTERMILK MARINADE
- 1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 2 chickens (2 pounds each-you don't want huge chickens for this), cut up into pieces
- 2 quarts corn oil
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground celery seed
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
TO MAKE THE BUTTERMILK MARINADE
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk together with the cayenne, Old Bay, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and honey. Put the chicken pieces in the mixing bowl and submerge them in the buttermilk marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge, and let the chicken marinate for at least 12 hours.
TO BREAD AND FRY THE CHICKEN
Pull the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, still in the marinade (this will take about 45 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a deep pot or a deep-fryer over high heat. The oil should be 3 inches deep, and it should be so hot that it starts popping (about 350 degrees F). A good rule of thumb: if you drop a pinch of flour into the oil and it fries up immediately, you're good to go. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay, cayenne pepper, celery seed, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix things around with your hands so everything is distributed evenly. Pour half of the mixture into a small bowl and set it aside.
Add the flour to the large bowl and mix well. When the oil is hot, pull a piece of chicken out of the marinade. Put it right into the dredging flour bowl and heap flour on top of it; flip it around until the chicken is completely coated. Do the same with each piece until there's no more space in the bowl.
Pick up a piece of chicken, give it a light shake (just enough to get rid of the really loose bits of flour), and use your hands or a pair of tongs to drop it into the fry pot. Do the same with the rest of the chicken pieces. (You will definitely need to fry your chicken in batches, unless you've got some really big bowls and pots.)
Let the chicken fry for about 8 minutes, until it's golden brown. Pull the chicken pieces out of the fryer with tongs and put them on a rack set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with the seasoning mixture, using the tongs to turn the piece so it's coated on all sides.
Put the baking sheet in the oven. The chicken pieces should rest in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so that the cooking process finishes. Meanwhile, fry up the next batch of chicken.
Hold the fried chicken in the oven until all the pieces are fried and rested and you're ready to serve it up. Then pile the chicken on a big plate, put it in the center of the table with biscuits, collards, and slaw, and let everybody start grabbing pieces. I guarantee it will disappear fast.
For more of Andrew's recipes, go to Page 2.
RIGATONI WITH SUNDAY NIGHT RAGU
FOR THE RAGU
- 1 pound St. Louis ribs (spare ribs, trimmed, with the brisket bones removed)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder,
- cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced superfine
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Calabrian, dried on the branch)
- Two 28-ounce cans chopped plum tomatoes with their juice (I like Jersey Fresh)
FOR THE PASTA AND TO FINISH THE DISH
- 1 pound dried rigatoni
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
TO MAKE THE RAGU
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Sprinkle both sides of the pork ribs generously with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Lay the ribs on a rack in a roasting pan, put it on the middle oven rack, and roast for 30 minutes. When the ribs have been in the oven for 15 minutes or so, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the pork shoulder to the pot and let it cook for about 7 minutes, until it's well browned. Stir the meat every few minutes so nothing sticks. Stir in the onions, turn the flame down to medium, and keep cooking for about 3 minutes, until the onions have started to soften and color up a little.
Stir in the garlic and let everything cook for another minute or so, until the garlic has released its aroma. Make sure you keep stirring during this portion of the proceedings, so the garlic doesn't burn and wreck everything. Then stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the red pepper flakes, and the oregano.
When the ribs have started to brown and caramelize, pull them out of the oven and add them to the pot, along with the canned tomatoes and 2 cups of water. (Don't worry too much about how perfectly done the ribs may or may not be-this is just to give them a head start. They're going to cook in the ragu for another 31/2 hours, so they're definitely going to be done.)
Bring the sauce up to a simmer; then turn the flame down to low and let the ragu keep cooking for about 31/2 hours, checking it every so often and giving it a stir to make sure nothing's sticking or burning on the sides of the pot.
When the rib meat is falling off the bone and the pork shoulder is nice and tender, pull the pot off the flame and use a slotted spoon to pull the chunks of pork and the ribs from the pot. Pile them on a big plate and let them cool down on the countertop (or in the fridge, if you're in a hurry).
Use a ladle to skim the fat off the top of the sauce, so it doesn't get greasy.
When the meat is cool enough to handle, rip the pieces of shoulder apart, turning it into chunks, by digging in your thumbs and pulling. Do the same with the ribs, but be careful not to mush up the meat. Pile the pulled meat in a bowl; throw the bones away, but pour any sauce that's left on the plate over the pulled meat.
TO FINISH THE DISH
Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil for the pasta.
When the water boils, add the rigatoni to the pot and let it cook for the time specified on the box minus 1 minute. If the sauce has cooled, heat it up on the stove over a low flame.
Mix the meat back into the sauce. When the pasta is just al dente, drain it (but don't rinse it) and add it to the pot on the stove. Turn the heat to medium and cook the pasta in the sauce for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring it every few seconds. You want the pasta to soak up the flavors of the sauce. If the sauce seems dry, add a little bit of water.
Turn the flame off; then add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the olive oil to the pot and mix everything together really well. The Italians call this process mantecare, which means "to make creamy." Scoop the ragu into individual bowls, sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan and the chopped parsley on top, and serve this right away.
COLLARD GREENS AC-STYLE
My mom taught me how to make great collard greens. When I was growing up, she used to buy collards at West Side Market, the great farmers' market in downtown Cleveland. I can pretty much guarantee she was the only Polish woman in town cooking up collards soul food-style, with bacon and onions, back in the 'seventies. My mom? She's got soul.
When I grew up and started eating collards in restaurants, I found that they were usually pretty bland and mushy. I wanted to pump them up a bit, so I added Franks' Red Hot (the classic Buffalo hot sauce), honey and vinegar to round it out and give the dish a great hot-sweet-sour taste. True collards should taste earthy, smoky, and vinegary--like these.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
- 3 bunches collard greens (about 3 pounds), stems removed, sliced into pieces 1" wide.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot (or your favorite hot sauce)
When I'm working with collard greens, I like to lay each leaf flat on a cutting board and cut the stem out by running the point of a sharp knife along either side of the big inner stem--then I just slice it across the top to pull it out. When all the stems are removed, I pile the greens up and slice them at 1" intervals from top to bottom, right through the pile.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the bacon and let it fry up a little, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.
When some of the bacon fat has rendered and the meat has started to brown (about 3 minutes), add the onions and mix them in well, so they're coated in the fat. Keep cooking for another 2 minutes or so, until the onions have softened.
Add the collard greens, the salt and the pepper, and toss everything together as well as possible, so the leaves are really coated and shiny.
Add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a low boil, cover the pot, and let the greens cook for about 45 minutes, until they're really tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the honey, the vinegar and the Frank's Red Hot, and mix everything together well. Serve these right away, with the cider-glazed pork chop or fried chicken.
For even more of Andrew's recipes, go to Page 3.
I haven't used cup measurements for the vegetables here: coleslaw is one of those things where exact amounts just don't matter. And since cabbage grows big, you're definitely going to have a lot of slaw, so plan on feeding a crowd.
SERVES 6 TO 8
FOR THE SLAW
- 1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- 2 or 3 small carrots, peeled
- 1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced thin
- 6 pickled jalapenos (page 305) or from the jar
FOR THE DRESSING
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
- 1/2 cup juice from pickled jalapenos
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
TO FINISH THE DISH
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
TO MAKE THE SLAW
Cut off the stem of the cabbage and peel off the outside leaves, removing any brown pieces. Using a large knife, slice the cabbage into quarters. Cut away the thick core on the inside of each quarter. Then slice each quarter right through the layers, so you end up with thin ribbons. Pile the sliced cabbage in a (very) large bowl. Slice the carrots as thin as possible. (Some people like to shred them, and you can do that if you have strong feelings about it, but I like slicing better-the bigger pieces make for better eating.) Add the carrots and red onions to the bowl. Cut the ends off the jalapenos; slice each jalapeno lengthwise, cut away the core, and remove the seeds. Then slice each jalapeno crosswise into small thin pieces. Add them to the bowl.
TO MAKE THE DRESSING
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, celery seed, jalapeno juice, mustard, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Whisk all the ingredients together until they form a smooth liquid.
SOUR ORANGE PIE
MAKES ONE 10-INCH PIE; SERVES 8
FOR THE CRUST
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 9 graham crackers (1 sleeve)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces white chocolate (1/2 cup)
FOR THE FILLING
- Very finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- Very finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 orange (1/4 cup), or 1/4 cup good-quality
- store-bought orange juice (see Note)
- Juice of 3 to 5 lemons (3/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
TO MAKE THE CRUST
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Meanwhile, break the graham crackers up into large pieces, and grind them to a powder in a food processor; you should have 11/2 cups.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker powder, brown sugar, flour, salt, and melted butter. Mix everything together with your fingers until you end up with small pebbles.
While the crust is baking, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler-or in a bowl set over a pot of hot water, or in a microwave on a low setting (checking it every few seconds). White chocolate burns really easily, so you need to melt it super-gently.
When the crust comes out of the oven, use a spoon to spread the white chocolate over the surface, smoothing it out with your fingers. Make sure you leave a gap at the top edge-you don't want the white chocolate to show over the filling. You want to do this while the white chocolate and the crust are both still warm, so the white chocolate spreads easily and doesn't set up and harden too fast. The chocolate will act as a sealant, to stop the crust from going soggy when you pour in the filling (it keeps the crust really crisp even after it's finished baking, so when you take the pie out of the fridge the day after you make it, you don't have sogginess). Set aside the crust to cool.
TO MAKE THE FILLING AND BAKE THE PIE
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Zest the oranges and lemons, using a micro-plane grater if you've got one-you want the zest to be as fine as possible.
Squeeze the orange through a sieve into a measuring cup to make sure you've got the right amount of juice. Do the same with the lemons.
Combine the orange and lemon zest, the orange and lemon juice, 1 cup of the sugar, and the butter in a medium-sized sauce pot. Stir everything together, and cook the mixture over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until the butter melts.
Whisk everything together again, and keep cooking, whisking frequently, for about 6 minutes, until the mixture boils up and the white-yellow layer that forms on the top has mostly boiled away (it's just like you're clarifying butter). The liquid will turn caramel-colored. While the citrus mixture is cooking, whisk together the eggs, yolks, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt in a large mixing bowl.
When the citrus mixture is ready, pour it slowly into the egg mixture. Whisk everything together well.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl, using a spoon to push the liquid through but leaving most of the zest in the sieve. The liquid will be bright egg-yellow.
Pour the liquid filling into the pie crust (but don't overfill it). Put the pie pan on a baking sheet, and set it on the middle oven rack. (Be careful when you transfer it to the oven!)
Let the pie bake for about 35 minutes; it's done when the filling firms up, so it jiggles but isn't liquid anymore, and it bubbles on the outside edge.
Let the pie cool completely before you cut into it. It's good at room temperature, but you can keep it in the fridge and serve it cold, too-it holds pretty well for a day or so.DRINK
1 -3/4 oz. El Dorado 15 year Rum
1/2 oz. Meletti Amaro
1/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz. Falernum
- METHOD: Stir and strain over a single LARGE ICE CUBE
- GLASS: Old-Fashioned
- GARNISH: Lemon Twist