Dallas super chef Dean Fearing did not get where he is today by being a shrinking violet. Or lacking ambition. Noticing that no one had written a cookbook named The Texas Food Bible, he claimed the title for his own. As a result, The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics is now out from Grand Central Publishing ($30).
In the 256-page book, lavishly illustrated with photography by Dave Carlin, Fearing looks back on dishes he has developed over a career that spans some thirty years, including two decades at the celebrated Mansion on Turtle Creek Hotel in Dallas and seven-plus years at his own restaurant, Fearing’s, which opened at the Dallas Ritz Carlton in 2007. (Texas Monthly named Fearing’s the best new restaurant in the state in 2008.)
Fans will be happy to know that it includes signature dishes (and adaptations) from both restaurants, such as enchiladas with griddled jalapeño potatoes, charred corn and chorizo street tacos, and avocado fries. But he also throws in recipes he’s come across and fallen in love with, like smoky bacon barbecue sauce. Many of the selections pay homage to Southwestern Cuisine, the popular culinary movement that Fearing co-founded with other Texas chefs in the mid-nineteen-eighties.
There is still time to catch him on his short book tour. On Thursday, May 8, he will do a book signing and dinner in conjunction with the Twig Book shop and NAO restaurant in San Antonio. On Saturday, May 10, he will sign books at Neiman Marcus at 8687 North Central Expy, Suite 400, Dallas. On May 24, he will be at Neiman Marcus at 2100 Green Oaks Road in Fort Worth.
Here’s his take on barbecued quail:
Barbecued Bacon-Wrapped Quail with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing
Four 4-ounce semi-boneless quail
Freshly ground pepper
8 thin strips seeded jalapeno chile
8 strips smoked bacon
1 cup warm Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce or use your favorite sauce
1 cup Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Place the quail on a clean cutting board. Working with one at a time and using a small, sharp knife, cut the wing tips and legs from each bird. Cut down the center of the backbone of each quail, opening up the body. Lay flat, skin side down.
- Generously season all sides of each quail with salt and pepper. Lay 2 strips of chile down the center of each one and, working from one cut side, roll the birds into a tight cylinder.
- Working with one bird at a time, place 2 strips of bacon, side by side, on a clean surface. Place a rolled quail on one end, and again roll into a tight cylinder, completely enclosing the quail. Repeat the process to cover all the birds.
- Place the rolled quail, seam side down, in a baking pan, leaving about 2 inches between birds. Transfer to the preheated oven and roast for about 12 minutes, or until the bacon is thoroughly cooked and nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Using a serrated knife cut each quail roll crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds. Place a small skewer through each round, going straight through the center, entering and exiting through the bacon wrap. Dip the quail rolls into the barbecue sauce to glaze slightly.
- Place on a platter and serve warm with the ranch dressing for dipping.