12 Dishes We Loved in 2012


Between attending guest-chef dinners at the Beard House and our travels to other cities for various fundraisers and programs, the JBF team collectively feasts on a broad swath of American food every year. After another rush of meals in 2012, we’re confident that this country’s cuisine is more exciting than ever. We wish we could give a shout-out to every dish that wowed us, but we’re going to keep this salute to a tidy, stellar dozen.

 

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Cucumber-cured Arctic char with melon, mint, and kasha from Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine

Cucumber-Cured Arctic Char with Melon, Mint, and Kasha

Eventide Oyster Co. / Portland, Maine

 

We had high hopes for this brisk and sunny oyster bar: it’s run by the same people who inherited Hugo’s from JBF Award winner Rob Evans. We weren’t disappointed. Our favorite dish... Read more >

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What We Loved in 2010

Curtis Duffy's dish at the James Beard Awards; Karen DeMasco's budino at Chefs & Champagne
 

The JBF editors collectively checked in at hundreds of restaurants and events in 2010; here are a dozen dishes that made us sit up and pay attention (and lick our plates clean):

Curtis Duffy's Alaskan King Crab with Cucumber Consommé, Kalamansi, Floral Cream, and Lemon Balm at the James Beard Awards
The ingredient list reads like a perfume label, but there was nothing overpowering about this dish: the aromatics perfectly complemented the creamy chunks of crab. We also loved the Grant Achatz protégé’s artful presentation.

Linton Hopkin's Roast... Read more >

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Recipe: Catfish Court-Bouillon

catfish court bouillon While French court-bouillon is a light poaching liquid made with mirepoix, bouquet garni, and acidic elements like lemon or wine, its Cajun descendant is a hearty fish stew. JBF Award Winner Donald Link uses cornmeal-dredged catfish and jalapeño pepper to ramp up the good ol' New Orleans flavor of this authentic recipe.

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Eye Candy: Cajun-Style Boudin Balls

boudin balls JBF Award Winner Donald Link, Ryan Prewitt, and Stephen Stryjewski passed around these traditional Cajun-style boudin balls—battered and deep-fried globes of pork sausage and rice—during the reception of their Big Easy–style Beard House dinner. Click here to see more images of the meal. (Photo by Tom Kirkman)

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Eat this Word: Croque Monsieur

croque monsieurWHAT? A ham-'n-cheese sandwich with a French twist. The classic croque monsieur, darling of cash-poor tourists and French folk-on-the-go, is buttered bread, Gruyère cheese, and lean ham, fried in clarified butter. In the good old days before even the French began to rush their meals, it was served as an hors d'oeuvre, a tea sandwich, or the main event in a (pre-cholesterol) light lunch. The modern version of this "crunchy sir" is more often a ham-and-Swiss combo, toasted in a grill press and served hot and delicious at cafes and street stalls, so even those Francophiles most pressed for time don't have to settle for McDonald's. Apparently when it crosses the ocean, this impeccably pedigreed Gallic standard gets some new clothes: this month at the Beard House, for instance, it's served with duck pastrami. WHERE? JBF Award winner Donald Link, Ryan

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