July 1, 2015, is a date that will live in infamy. The state of Texas was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Twitter and blog forces of the New York Times Empire’s food section, whose heinous guacamole recipe is, without a doubt, one of the most alarming and disgusting weapons of mass destruction ever unleashed in the history of mankind:
Add green peas to your guacamole. Trust us. http://t.co/7imMY9c2ph pic.twitter.com/oeOMt2qgmh
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 1, 2015
With those eight words, and that horrid recipe, war was launched between the culinary forces of two great nations. Peagate had begun. So here is our plan of attack. It’s a simple one, but we believe it will be effective: We asked Texas-bred chefs living everywhere from San Antonio to Dallas to the very belly of the Gotham beast to chime in with amazing and breathtaking spins on classic New York dishes.
And we welcome contributions from more of you: take a New York classic, add one or two Texas ingredients, smugly tell the world to “trust you” and away we will go. Unlike pea-befouled guacamole, some of these dishes might even be edible, delicious even. You be the judge.
Since it’s Friday, we’ll start with a seafood dish: from the kitchen at REEF in Houston, we present:
Chef Bryan Caswell’s Manhattan Clam Chowder con Gulf Oysters, which unlike that aforementioned desecration of the noble avocado, is something I might actually eat. Like maybe even today, if it was an R-month.
With any seafood dish the quality of your protein is King. For me, clams have always had the mouth feel a beach-going huarache sandal. Oysters seem a natural, local substitute.
This dish was a collaboration between myself, chef-owner and my chef de cuisine JD Fouche
½ gallon of shucked Gulf oysters
½ cup Hill Country smoked sausage, small dice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups 1015 Texas onions (Texas sweet onions), small dice
½ cup celery, small dice
½ cup poblano pepper, small dice
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
6 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ cup white wine
1 ½ cup chicken stock
1 ½ cup clam juice
3 cups Ro-Tel tomatoes
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and cayenne to taste
In a hot medium-sized sauce pan, add ½ the oil and sweat ½ cup of the 1015 onions ‘til translucent with ½ the thyme sprigs. Add oysters and clam juice. Bring to a simmer, about 4-6 minutes depending on the size of the oysters. Strain and reserve both liquid and oysters. In a medium cast iron dutch oven add the other ½ of the oil and cook the Hill Country sausage ‘til crispy and golden brown. Add the Texas onions, celery and peppers. Cook 4-5 min, ‘til translucent then add garlic, bay leaf, and the rest of the thyme. Cook 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine, reduce by half. Add the chicken stock, oyster broth, and potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cook ‘til potatoes are tender. Add Ro-tel tomatoes, cook about 8 minutes. Finish with cooked oysters, cilantro, lemon juice. Season with salt and cayenne.
And we suggest pairing with a nice Waldorf salad, replacing the walnuts with Brazos Valley pecans and dressed with a dark mole sauce. Take that, NYT.
(image via Bryan Caswell)