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5 Comfort-Food Recipes from Top California Restaurants

5 Comfort-Food Recipes from Top California Restaurants

Golden State chefs share a few of their favorite dishes to make at home

Posted 3 years agoby Tina Caputo

Dining out is currently off the table due to the statewide shelter-in-place directive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t taste incredible dishes from top California restaurants at home. Many of the state’s dining destinations are offering take-out and delivery during the shutdown, yet there’s something especially satisfying about preparing restaurant-quality meals in your own kitchen.

Try these five soul-satisfying recipes from celebrated chefs across the state.

Addison’s Duchess Potatoes

Recipe by William Bradley

William Bradley’s meticulous approach to contemporary haute cuisine has earned San Diego’s Addison a Michelin star and praise as one of the region’s most exquisite fine-dining restaurants. The cuisine at the Del Mar restaurant isn’t typically described as comfort food, but Bradley’s creamy duchess potatoes will definitely make you feel all warm inside. Serve them alongside a roasted meat or fish dish for an elevated take on a classic pairing.

Ingredients (serves 6)
2 pounds floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk, for glazing
Sea salt to taste

Boil the potatoes in a pot for 10 minutes until fork-tender. Drain, then return the potatoes to the pan and cook 1–2 minutes over low heat, stirring to help dry them out. Transfer to a bowl and mash well.

Beat the whole eggs, cream, Parmesan, and nutmeg together. Pour the mixture into the mashed potatoes and season well with salt to taste. Mix everything together and cover and let set for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Put the warm mixture into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe mixture into swirls (they should look a bit like the top of a soft-service ice cream cone) onto a greased baking tray and brush each potato swirl with egg yolk. Bake for 15–20 minutes until golden brown.

Puesto’s Potato Taquitos

Recipe by Marco Arreguin

With locations in Irvine, San Diego, and the Bay Area, Puesto combines the authentic flavors of Mexico City with the owners’ Mexican-SoCal family traditions. Puesto’s ever-changing taco selection keeps locals coming back for más, along with bright ceviches and Mexican street snacks. The restaurant’s taquitos are a guest favorite. “Taquitos are a staple in a Mexican kitchen,” says Chef Marco Arreguin, a veteran of Michelin-starred Taco María in Costa Mesa, “and once you master the humble potato taquito, you can take them in any direction with as much creativity as you would like.”

Ingredients (serves 6)

For taquitos:
12 corn tortillas
5 peeled and boiled potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Canola oil

For salsa:
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 serrano or jalapeño pepper (seeds removed), chopped
1 teaspoon salt

For garnish:
Iceberg lettuce, chopped
Crumbled cotija cheese
Sour cream

To make sure the tortillas are pliable, steam them by wrapping them in a damp towel and placing in a microwave for 30 seconds or lightly heat them in a skillet for about 10 seconds on each side.

Mash the potatoes with salt while they are slightly warm, then add the mozzarella cheese and mix well. Using a spoon or a piping bag, place potato mixture in the center of the par-cooked tortillas and roll them up. (Optional: secure with toothpicks.)

Heat about 2 inches of oil to 325°F in a deep skillet. Place a couple of taquitos into the oil at a time, flipping them after about 1 minute until golden brown. Place the taquitos on a paper towel–lined plate or baking rack to allow any excess oil to drip off.

For the salsa, blend together the tomatoes, onion, lime juice, oregano, chopped pepper, and salt.

To serve, place two taquitos on each plate. Top with chopped iceberg lettuce and spoon the salsa over the lettuce. Crumble cotija over the entire plate and place a dollop of sour cream on top.

Sqirl’s Charred Tomato Soup with Mint and Croutons

Recipe courtesy of Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking

Chef-owner Jessica Koslow originally launched Sqirl as a jam company, but couldn’t resist expanding her offerings to include addictive brioche toasts, gorgeous salads, and savory soups. Koslow’s Los Angeles restaurant is known today as a go-to spot for bright, modern California cuisine—such as her charred tomato soup. Delicious hot or cold, and even better served the next day, the soup is uniquely flavored with sherry vinegar and fresh mint leaves.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
4 large red tomatoes (about 2 pounds total)
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, plus more as needed
6 fresh mint leaves
Fleur de sel
Tiny fennel fronds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the crust off the baguette. (Crust pieces can be toasted until completely dry and then ground into bread crumbs and saved for another use.) Tear the baguette into crouton-size pieces and spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over the bread, then toss to coat, gently squeezing the bread so that it soaks up the oil. Season evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and crisp on the outside but still chewy on the inside, about 15 minutes.

Use the tip of a small knife to cut out the stem end of the tomatoes, then slice the tomatoes in half through the equator. Heat a large pan over high heat for 2 minutes. When the pan is ripping hot, add 2 tablespoons oil. Place as many tomato halves as will fit in a single layer in the pan, cut-side down. Sear until lightly charred in a few places, 3 to 6 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the charred tomatoes to a plate and put the next batch in the pan to sear. Add a little more oil before each batch goes in, if the pan looks dry.

Add the vinegar, mint leaves, and 1 teaspoon of salt into a blender letting the salt dissolve. Then scrape the tomatoes and any of their juices left behind in the pan into a blender. Blend on low speed, just to break up the tomatoes, then increase the speed to medium and, while blending, gradually pour in 1/2 cup oil. Blend on high speed for 1 minute. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or vinegar, if it needs it.

Strain the soup through a nut-milk bag (substitute cheesecloth if necessary), or if you like a little texture in your soup, don’t strain it. Pour the soup into four bowls and top each with croutons, a drizzle of oil, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Garnish with fennel fronds.


Bell’s Egg-Salad Sandwich

Recipe by Daisy Ryan

Founded by Daisy and Greg Ryan, who met in New York City while working at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Bell’s specializes in fresh and flavorful French bistro fare. The Los Alamos restaurant’s egg-salad sandwich—featuring thick slices of butter-toasted bread, tomato jam, and big chunks of egg—is a Bell’s staple. “I think people tend to lean toward simple pleasures during complicated times,” Daisy says, “and what’s more simple than eggs, tomato, bread, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise?”

For the egg salad:

Ingredients (serves 4)
15 eggs
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Choose a pot that will allow you to place the eggs in a single layer on the bottom. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch (don’t put them in just yet), add a tablespoon of salt, and bring water to a boil. Add eggs slowly to the pot so they won’t break. Boil eggs for 8 minutes, then immediately remove them from the water and place them in a prepared ice bath. Leave eggs in the ice bath for 5–10 minutes or until chilled. Peel and quarter the eggs, then mix together in a bowl with mayonnaise, olive oil, chives, salt, and pepper. Place egg salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the tomato jam:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped into small dice
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 15-ounce can of tomatoes in sauce
Lots of pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Over low heat in an ovenproof Dutch oven or large cast iron pan, sweat the onion in butter with olive oil, sugar, and salt. Once the onions are translucent, pour tomatoes and their liquid over them. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Put the pan in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir after 30 minutes (the top should start to blacken), then put the pan back into oven for an additional 30 minutes or until top blackens again. The finished product should have no remaining liquid.

Place contents in a food processor and blend until the jam has the smooth consistency of tomato paste. Adjust seasoning to taste.

To make sandwiches:

8 slices pain de mie (soft white bread)

Put a baking sheet in the oven and set the temperature to 350ºF. For each sandwich, take two slices of bread and lightly butter one side of each slice. Flip over one of the slices so the buttered side is facing down, then spread the nonbuttered side with a layer of tomato jam. Place slices on the heated pan, butter side down. Toast bread until lightly golden and remove from it the oven. Fill sandwiches with a generous amount of egg salad and cut in half.

Tartine Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook

Opened in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2002 by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, Tartine is a heavenly haven for artisan breads, buttery pastries, and other delights. The bakery-café also makes a mean fried chicken, which owes its crunchy crust to a coating of chickpea flour. Prueitt describes the chicken as “crispy and light, with a delicious savory flavor that takes well to the herbs and strong seasonings traditionally used in fried chicken coatings.”

Ingredients (serves 8)
4 bone-in chicken breasts
4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 bone-in chicken drumsticks
1 quart buttermilk or kefir (watered-down yogurt also works)
1 tablespoon sea salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup potato starch
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the chicken, buttermilk or kefir, and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to fry, remove the chicken from the fridge and let rest in the buttermilk at room temperature.

Pour at least 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or tall-sided pan and heat to 360°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Meanwhile, mix together the chickpea flour, potato starch, salt, and pepper. The chickpea mixture ingredients can be put in a paper or plastic bag or in a shallow bowl to combine.

When the oil is ready, lift a piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, and dredge the chicken in the chickpea mixture. Carefully place in the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the piece and the temperature of the chicken (using a meat or instant-read thermometer, it should be at least 165°F). Working in batches, fry as many pieces of chicken as will fit in a single, uncrowded layer at a time. Using tongs, transfer the fried chicken to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let cool slightly before serving.

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