July 4 is the ultimate American celebration. This is OURS, something we earned and created. It’s softball, family gatherings, races, patriotic music and food. Barbecue and appropriate beverages. We’ve assembled some American dishes and one delicious wine honoring our friends in France who were allies during the American Revolutionary War.
Oysters en Brochette
The French Quarter’s heralded Galatoire’s serves a world-renowned classic,Oysters en Brochette. It’s a great way to begin a feast celebrating the birth of America.
1 quart Vegetable Oil
12 thick cut slices smoked Bacon, cut in half
36 large shucked Oysters
2 large Eggs
2 cups whole Milk
2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Meuniére Sauce, recipe to follow
6 Toast Points
6 Lemon Wedges
Heat the oil to 350?. in a large sauté pan. In a separate, medium sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. To assemble the brochettes, skewer 1 piece of bacon then 2 oysters. Repeat twice and end with an additional piece of bacon for a total of 4 pieces of bacon and 6 oysters. Repeat for 5 more skewers.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Dip the skewers into the egg wash. Allow excess to drip off. lace brochettes in flour and coat heavily. Shake off excess and place into the hot oil. Fry 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Slide Oysters off of the skewers into the centers of 6 appetizer plates. ladle meuniére sauce over oysters. Garnish with a toast point and lemon wedge.
1 pound Butter
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, whisking constantly for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sediment in the butter turns dark brown, almost (but not quite) to the point of burning, and the liquid is a deep golden color. Remove the pan from heat and continue to whisk slowly, adding the lemon juice and the vinegar to the browned butter. The sauce will froth until the acids have evaporated. When the frothing subsides, the sauce is complete.
1/3 cup finely ground dark roast coffee
1/3 cup dark chile powder (meaning ground dark chiles, such as ancho)
1/3 cup smoked paprika
1/2 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the BBQ beef brisket
One large (4-6 lbs.) beef brisket
For the barbecue sauce
2 cups ketchup
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/3 cups distilled white vinegar
5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons granulated garlic
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns crushed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown or light brown sugar
1 1/3 cups cold water
2/3 cup molasses
The coffee rub-
Using your hands to mix these spices helps to capture a feeling of nostalgia for cooking. Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and break up any clumps. Don’t refrigerate. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as your cupboard
Preparing the BBQ beef brisket:
Pat the brisket dry with a towel to remove any moisture. Generously rub the brisket with 1 cup coffee rub, massaging the spice mixture into the meat. Repeat with 1 more cup rub. The rub will soak up the liquid from the beef and form a crust. Place the meat on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Prepare a smoker for hot smoking by building a fire and maintaining the coal bed in order for the enclosed cooker to reach a steady temperature for 45 minutes or so, kind of like preheating an oven. Every hour or so of cooking, you need to tend your fire, adding wood and adjusting the coals so it’ll smolder and continue to smoke. It’s a good idea to add a drip pan positioned below the meat to prevent flare-ups, as well as a water pan on the grate alongside the meat to ensure the meat doesn’t dry out too much.
Place the brisket on the center rack of the smoker and smoke for 12 hours. This is slow cooking at its easiest—there’s no need to check the meat at intervals, though you may need to tend the fire. [The standard cooking time for brisket is 1 hour per pound, smoked fat side up, under indirect heat at a steady temperature of 225°F.
After 12 hours, use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 185°F in the thickest side of the brisket. Once that temperature is reached, open the door of the smoker and let the meat rest for 30 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to settle. The internal temperature will continue to rise to 190°F.
While the meat rests, combine the ketchup, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and water in a large stockpot over medium heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly. Whisk in the molasses last (it will burn if added too early) and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Season to taste.
Move the rested BBQ beef brisket to a cutting board, fatty-side up with the wide, taller end to your left. The fully rested meat will have a distinct crust and will be tender and juicy inside. There should be a pink smoke ring beneath the crust. To carve, slice off the top or cap, which is full of most of the fatty, sinuous tissue, and reserve it for chopping. Now that the BBQ beef brisket is an even thickness, remove 2 1/2 inches from the left side, slicing at a 45° angle down and to the left. Next, remove 1 inch from the right side of the brisket in the same way. Reserve these 2 end pieces (often called the “burnt ends”) for chopping if you like. Burnt ends are fully charred and tasty, and many feel this is some of the best meat.
Slice the remaining center portion of the BBQ beef brisket into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Roughly chop the cap crosswise and lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks. You can chop the 2 end portions with the cap, if you like.
Serve the sliced BBQ beef brisket immediately and pass the sauce on the side. If desired, serve the chopped meat immediately as well.
3 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
4 pounds russet potatoes (about 10 medium), peeled and quartered
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted chicken schmaltz or vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
Chopped fresh parsley and chives, for garnish
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.
Shred the onions and potatoes with a food processor. Using the shredding disk of the food processor, shred the onions and potatoes. You will likely have to do this in 4 batches, simply transfer each batch of shredded onion and potato to a large bowl while you continue shredding.
Make a cheesecloth tourniquet and squeeze the liquid from onions and potatoes. Lay 1/4 of the grated onion and potato on a large triple layer of cheesecloth or clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Gather the corners and tie around the handle of a wooden spoon. Dangle the bundle over a medium bowl, then twist and squeeze the onion and potatoes as hard as you can until no more liquid comes out. Do not discard the liquid. Transfer the onion and potatoes to a clean, large bowl. Repeat this squeezing process with the rest of the grated onion and potato, replacing the cheesecloth if it tears.
Pour off the liquid, but leave the potato starch. Give the liquid a few minutes to allow the potato starch to settle, and then pour off and discard the liquid but leave the potato starch; set aside.
Beat the eggs. Place the eggs and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium-high speed until lightened in color and doubled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the schmaltz, potato starch, baking powder, salt and pepper, then toss with onions and potatoes. Add the reserved potato starch, 1/4 cup of the schmaltz or oil, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Beat on medium speed until combined. Add the reserved onion and potato and use your fingers to toss them with the egg mixture until evenly coated.
Grease and preheat the baking dish. Brush a 9×13-inch baking dish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of schmaltz or oil. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes.
Bake the kugel. Carefully transfer the mixture to the preheated baking dish and spread into an even layer but do not press down on it. Bake until golden-brown and an instant read thermometer registers at least 160°F, 40 to 50 minutes.
Turn the broiler to high. Broil the kugel until the top is richly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut into generous slices and serve with a sprinkle of parsley or chives.
Sir Verde’s wine and drink suggestions: Aperitif’s simply must be American. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is indisputably Red, White and Blue. The distillery in lovely Lynchburg, Tennessee hosts the world’s most prestigious barbecue event. Wine? France was our friend and ally during the American Revolution. The Marquis de Lafayette was treated to barbecue throughout the country on many occasions. Accordingly, a Cru Beaujolais from Burgundy is an almost perfect accompaniment. Serve slightly chilled. The regal oyster dish pairs seamlessly with St.Supréy 2019 Sauvignon Blanc.
Happy Fourth. Bonne dégustation. Love one another.