Thursday, September 21, 2023 Sep 21, 2023
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Food and Drink

Chef Kent Rathbun’s Gourmet Home Cooking Recipes

Gourmet comfort food recipes—think aged Gouda mac and cheese—from Chef Kent Rathbun’s new restaurant, Jasper’s.
By Jennifer Davis Dodd |

Backyard Barbeque
Chef Kent Rathbun shares home cooking recipes from his new award-winning restaurant Jasper’s.

Jasper’s almond-crusted trout

Call up a few friends. We’ve pulled together the perfect recipes for dinner at my house. Well, actually, Chef Kent Rathbun has.

In addition to the five-star, world-on-a-plate experience of Abacus, with the opening of his newest restaurant, Jasper’s, Kent offers Dallas a taste—literally—of what it might be like to have dinner at his house. “Jasper’s menu is made up of dishes I’d serve at home,” he says. In other words, this is upscale comfort food: perfectly seasoned meats and fish, with grits or creamed corn on the side, and crème brûlée for dessert.

“The secret to this type of cuisine,” Kent says, “is using the freshest ingredients you can find and proper grill technique.” He prefers to grill with wood, using a combination of hickory and oak, and he always cleans and oils the grill before each use. (You don’t want today’s chicken to taste like last weekend’s fish, and the oil prevents food from sticking.) “Preheating,” he says, “is absolutely essential: When you think your grill is hot enough, give it another 10 minutes. Improperly heated grills are the fastest road to failure. While you’re preheating, give everything that’s going on the grill a light coat of olive or canola oil, and don’t forget the seasonings.”

And that’s all there is to it. “Remember,” Kent says, “cooking and entertaining—especially casual entertaining—should be about having fun and being with your guests.” So, grab the plates and napkins, ice the beverages, set out the knives and forks, and get cookin’. You’ve got friends coming over.

Almond-crusted Trout
(serves 8)

 8     10-ounce trout fillets, quartered
 1/4  cup canola oil

 8  tablespoons almonds, toasted
 1  cup bread crumbs
 1  tablespoon kosher salt

 2     tablespoons canola oil
 2     shallots, peeled and chopped
 2     cups red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, chopped and roasted
 2     cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
 1/2  cup white wine
 1/2  cup heavy cream
 2     sticks butter, cubed
 2     lemons, juiced
 2     teaspoons kosher salt

Prepare the crust. In a food processor, combine salt, almonds, and half the breadcrumbs. Process until fairly fine, approximately 2 minutes. Combine mixture with remaining breadcrumbs by hand.

Prepare lemon butter sauce. Add canola oil, shallots, peppers, and garlic to medium saucepan. Saut until translucent. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half. Add heavy cream and reduce by half. Reduce heat and whip in cubed butter until incorporated. Season with lemon and salt, then strain.

Coat the flesh (not skin) side of the trout with crust. Saut trout, crust-side down, in oil over medium heat. The crust should brown, not blacken. Once browned, turn fish over and saut for 3 minutes to crisp skin.

To assemble, add 2 tablespoons of sauce then 1/4 cup garlic-black pepper grits to bowl. Stack four pieces of trout on grits. Add julienned cucumber and vinaigrette.

Garlic-Black Pepper Grits
(serves 8)

 1     cup chicken stock
 1     cup heavy cream
 1     cup whole milk
 1/2  stick butter
 3     tablespoons olive oil
 1/2  cup garlic cloves, peeled
 2     tablespoons cracked black pepper
 1     tablespoon kosher salt
 1     cup white Quaker Quick Grits

In small sauce pan over medium heat, saut garlic in olive oil until garlic starts to brown and roast. Continue cooking on low until garlic beings to soften. Add stock, cream, milk, and butter and cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to blender and purée. Return to stove, bring back to boil. Slowly add grits while whisking liquid. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Season with cracked peppercorns and kosher salt before serving.

Jasper’s aged Gouda mac and cheese

Aged Gouda Mac and Cheese
(serves 8)

 3     tablespoons olive oil
 2     pounds baby bow tie pasta
 2     quarts chicken stock
 2     cups heavy cream
 1/2  cup Romano cheese, grated
 1/2  cup aged Gouda cheese, shredded
 2     tablespoons basil, chopped
 2     tablespoons oregano, chopped
 2     tablespoons parsley, chopped
 1/2  pound Country ham, julienned

Add olive oil and half the pasta to a large pot over medium heat. Sauté pasta until golden brown.

Add remaining pasta and cover with half the chicken stock. Continue cooking until pasta absorbs most of the stock, then add remaining stock and continue cooking until stock is absorbed. Add heavy cream and cheese, and stir until cheese melts. Add chopped herbs.

In a sauté pan, quickly sau ham until crisp. Slice. Add ham to pasta and stir to incorporate.

Butterfinger Crème Brûlée
(serves 8)

 15   egg yolks
 1     quart cream
 2     teaspoons vanilla
 1/4  cup sugar
 3     Butterfinger candy bars, broken into bits

Bring cream and vanilla to a boil. While waiting for cream to boil, whisk eggs and sugar over boiling water until very thick and light in color. Be careful not to scramble eggs at bottom of bowl. Slowly add cream to egg mixture and continue to cook, stirring until thick. Strain into shallow pan. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Fold broken candy bars into brûlée, spoon into dishes, and torch tops.

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