Looking back on our final Beard House meals of 2014, a trend emerges: surprising details in otherwise familiar dishes. Below, our editors' picks for December's standouts.
Chicken Wings, Feet, and Cockscombs / Mediterranean Winter Feast
I have never seen so much care given to a chicken foot. Beard Award winner Jimmy Bannos, Jr. saves these oft-discarded extremities to accessorize his excellent, sous-vide wings. The method for cooking them is something of a grim spa treatment: clip the talon-like nails, make a few incisions in the toes, and carefully extract all 13 bones. After a steam in the combi oven, the feet go to the fryer; without those bones, the feet puff and crisp beautifully. The cockscombs enjoy hot and hotter plunges: confited, then fried.
—Anna Mowry, Senior Editor
Prime Flank Steak Tartare with Marinated Quail Eggs, Yuzu Kosho, and Fingerling Potato Chips / End of Prohibition Hoorah
It’s no surprise that the creative libations from Death & Co., PDT, the Dead Rabbit, and other heavy hitters of New York mixology stole the show at our recent Repeal Day tasting party. However, tucked amid the tantalizing, bespoke cocktails were several standout dishes that held their own (and helped revelers hold their booze). Even a month later, I’m craving this elegant tartare with delicate quail eggs, spicy yuzu kosho, and crispy fingerling potato chips. The brightness and heat from the yuzu kosho (a Japanese condiment made from chile peppers and citrus) cut through the richness of the raw steak, and made it a welcome and innovative riff on a classic canapé.
—Elena North-Kelly, Senior Editor
Berkshire Honey–Roasted Pears with Bayley Hazen Blue Panna Cotta and Black Walnut Cake / Autumn’s Last Whisper
I assumed the star of this dessert would be the pears, but after one bite it was clear that the fruit was merely a supporting player in the shadow of this astonishing panna cotta. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, tricking my tongue with an initial marshmallow sweetness, then giving way to Bayley Hazen Blue’s signature funk. This was Willy Wonka’s version of a cheese plate, and I was more than happy to claim my golden ticket.
—Maggie Borden, Assistant Editor
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