Tuesday, January 6, 2009

High on Fire

For those of you living outside the Birmingham area, you might be surprised to read this, but Birmingham has some really nice restaurants. And by nice, I mean restaurants that “foodies” can get really excited about.

You could say Frank Stitt started this re-food-volution (did I just come up with the word of 2009???) when he opened up Highlands Bar & Grill a little over twenty years ago (and has since opened Bottega (alongside Bottega Café), and Chez Fonfon). Highlands is the place you go to celebrate an anniversary/birthday or to have a drink before a show (the Strokes were supposedly drinking there before they played Sloss Furnace two years ago).

In addition to being a James Beard award-winning chef, Frank is also an accomplished author and has written two cook-books, A Southern Table, and Bottega Favorita.

The LOML (love-of-my-life) and I just got back from a trip to the Beach with our friends, where I really wanted to try out one of Frank’s recipes (Charred Onion Dip) from Bottea Favorita. I could not get enough French Onion dip in my mouth when I was a kid (probably why I was wearing “husky” clothes for most of my youth) and I thought this recipe looked really good. Should I have brought half a gallon of this stuff to the beach?? Was that too much (we did have twelve people)?? When it was gone on the third day, I knew we had a winner. I think the secret ingredient here is Mascarpone, so don’t skip out on it!

Bottega’s Charred Onion Dip

2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon mascarpone
1 scant tablespoon whole-grain mustard
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon finely sliced chives
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick and charred about 5 minutes per side (Frank says too “finely” chop, but slicing up a charred onion can get a little slippery, so I “rough” chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the sour cream, mascarpone, mustard, Tabasco, chives, lemon juice, and Worcestershire in a mixing bowl. Fold in the chopped onions then taste and adjust the seasonings.

We served with Kettle Potato Chips and it was really good! Seriously, go make some for the BCS Championship on Thursday!

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