Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Jones

This restaurant at 5347 North Clark Street was located right in the middle of one of my favorite neighborhoods – Andersonville. Honestly, I never ever noticed it before today.

This petite space was casual elegance and had much the same feel that you have when you walk into a restaurant such as Galatoire's in New Orleans. Never mind that the food has the same artistic culinary brilliance, I loved the service which was exceptional and a bit time-honored.

If I could choose one place to go to breakfast every Saturday morning this would be it.

I could have devoured all four beignets early on if my breakfast hadn’t arrived early. I was thrilled the minute I saw popovers on the menu and they did not disappoint. My Eggs New Orleans with Jonah crab cakes, popovers, poached farm eggs, bĂ©arnaise sauce, and potatoes O'Brien did me in because I couldn’t eat for the rest of the day.

I loved the fact that I knew exactly where my eggs came from - New Century Farm in Schullsburg, WI and they are certified organic. They source local ingredients and you can taste it. I appreciate – and always frequent- a restaurant that buys high-quality, local ingredients.

Next time I’m bringing a crew and trying out these dishes:

Fried Cauliflower
Three Sisters Garden cornmeal breading, pimiento cheese fundido, toasted benne seeds

Gumbo Ya-Ya
House Andouille and Gunthorp Farm chicken in Cajun roux, steamed popcorn rice - What is popcorn rice anyway?

Sally Lunn French Toast
Grilled rabbit giblet sausage, kumquat marmalade, sweet sherry reduction

Creole Rabbit Salad
rabbit confit, crisp bacon, baby lettuce, frisee, sage croutons, poached farm egg, vinaigrette

Yikes – I could get addicted to this place!

Drop by early on a Saturday morning, sit in the big, sunny window in front and ask for Adolfo. Promise you’ll have a hard time making a decision on what to order because everything looks like my favorite.
New Orleans Eggs and Crab

Having breakfast this morning at Big Jones made me realize how simple this delightful dish is. Layer in the order of ingredients listed.
Surprise everyone because this recipe is an easy and elegant dish to have for Easter Brunch.

Bon Appetit!

Popovers (see on recipe page)

Paula Dean's Crab Cake (reference recipe page)

Poached Egg
Fill a medium bowl with iced water; set aside. Fill a large wide saucepan with about 4 inches of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, so water is barely simmering. Break 1 egg at a time into a small heatproof bowl. Gently tip bowl into water, letting egg slide into the water. Using a spoon, cover yolk with some of the egg white; repeat with remaining 3 eggs. When eggs begin to become opaque, carefully transfer eggs using a slotted spoon to iced water to stop cooking. Trim edges with a small knife or scissors to create a uniform shape.

Bearnaise Sauce
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup very finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, more if desired
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaf
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1/2-3/4 cup unsalted butter, very soft (I've always used 1 1/2 sticks)
Coarse salt
Pepper, if desired
Lemon juice, if desired

Combine vinegar, wine, shallots, black pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of water to reduced vinegar mixture.

Whisk until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.

Set pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed reaching all over bottom and insides of pan, where eggs tend to overcook.

To moderate heat, frequently move pan off burner for a few seconds, then back on.

As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, then thicken.

When the bottom of the pan is visible in the streaks left by the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from heat.

By spoonfuls, add soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition.

As the emulsion forms, add butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed.

Continue incorporating butter until sauce has thickened to consistency desired.

Season with salt, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and, if desired, pepper.

Add a few droplets of lemon juice if necessary.


Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dash hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
1/2 cup butter

In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.

Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water