Archive | March 2nd, 2010

Shallots Boost Flavor in Potato Pancake

This recipe, says chef Clive Berkman, is perfect as a side for any grilled food.

Potato Pancake

3 large gold potatoes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
3 shallots, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut potatoes in thin, round slices (1/8-inch thick). Use a mandolin if you have one.

Melt one-half of the butter in an oven-proof omelet pan and lightly caramelize the chopped shallots. Remove shallots and add the rest of the butter to the pan. Layer the potato slices around the pan so that they completely cover the bottom of the pan. Brush with melted butter, season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Make another layer of potato slices, brush with butter, season. Now, make one layer of all the shallots. Continue building two more layers of potatoes, brushing each with butter and seasoning, until all of the potatoes are in the pan.

On medium heat, cook the bottom part of the pancake for 3-4 minutes. Be careful to not let it burn. Take pan off stove and put into the oven, uncovered. Bake until potatoes are golden brown, at least 30 minutes (this could vary depending on how thick you cut the potatoes and how big your pan is). Allow pancake to cool slightly. Flip pancake onto a serving platter so that the crunchy bottom side is up. Cut into wedges.

Dress it up: Use truffle butter in the bottom of the pan when adding potatoes.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from “Creating Empty Bottle Moments” by Clive Berkman

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Lunch Special, Menu Changes at Pavil, Watermark

Lunch Special, Menu Changes at Pavil, Watermark

Get lunch and get back to work with Pavil’s new 40-Minute Express Lunch. Also, check out a brand new menu at Watermark Grill. Many of the Watermark items have been changed, says chef Scott Cohen – and seasonal fish is always the name of the game.

The 40-Minute Express Lunch offers any entrée, entrée salad or sandwich from the menu to which you can add a choice of soup of the day or the Signature Pavil Salad, for an extra $2.95. Just let the waiter know you want the “express.”

At Watermark, says Cohen, the fish offerings on the menu reflect what is currently in season. This is in following with Watermark’s concept of keeping the fish and shellfish offerings as fresh as possible. Look for an array of new items. The 40-Minute Express Lunch also is available at Watermark Grill. Order from a printed, two-course menu.

Pavil is at 1818 N. Loop 1604. Watermark Grill is at 18740 Stone Oak Parkway.

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‘Creating Empty Bottle Moments’ a Menu Cookbook That Delivers

‘Creating Empty Bottle Moments’ a Menu Cookbook That Delivers

Clive Berkman, formerly of Charley's 517 in Houston, holds up a copy of his cookbook, 'Creating Empty Bottle Moments.'

For years, Clive Berkman kept empty wine bottles that reminded him of great celebrations in which he played a part. Now, the Houston chef has put those moments, along with the wines, menus, recipes and stories, in his book, “Creating Empty Bottle Moments” (Baxter Press, $30).

Berkman was at last week’s Ben E. Keith food show in the San Antonio Convention Center, signing books and talking food.  In his book, the restaurant manager/chef and catering consultant reminisces about meals he cooked throughout his career for celebrities, wine makers, sports figures, rock stars and theater greats.

If you like to see recipes in the context of a complete menu, this book offers interesting combinations to help you plan your own meal.  (Here and there some of the recipe ingredients are not exactly in the order of use, though, so it’s a good idea to read through them carefully first.) His recipe for a Potato Pancake is one that serves four and is suggested as a good side for grilled meats.

But what Berkman has done in this book is to share not only triumphs and failures in the kitchen, but the many ways he learned from people he encountered throughout his career. Along with memories he delivers cooking and hosting tips that are philosophical as often as they are technical.

[amazon-product]1888237716[/amazon-product]For example, he says, “Waiting is a lost art in our culture. … In the restaurant business and in every other aspect of life, we often find more meaning in the process than in the conclusion. … The conclusion of the meal isn’t the goal. The focus is the entire process involving creativity and interaction.”

Good thoughts for anyone to consider, from a writer who obviously put much thought and heart into creating those “empty bottle” moments.

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