5 Restaurant-Worthy Recipes From Bon Appétit

The premise of RSVP, Bon Appétit’s longest-running column, is simple: Readers write in to request recipes for their favorite restaurant dishes, and the magazine’s test kitchen chefs whip up a version that can be easily tackled at home—no commercial equipment or impossible-to-find ingredients required. Nowadays, the formerly handwritten letters have mostly been replaced by email (and tweets and Facebook posts), but RSVP is still as popular as ever, receiving upwards of 60 requests a week. “Even though it started in 1972, it’s even more relevant now because people have become increasingly obsessed with restaurants and creating restaurant-quality food at home,” said Julia Kramer, the section’s editor.

“What’s neat about RSVP is that a lot of restaurants are represented in the magazine that normally wouldn’t be,” added Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport. “In the world of food media, everyone wants to know what the cool, new restaurant is, but that means some great neighborhood spots in smaller towns don’t get as much coverage. RSVP gives them their 15 minutes of fame.”

For Adweek’s annual Food Issue, we teamed up with Bon Appétit to create our own take on RSVP—with a media twist, of course. Below, you’ll find industry insiders’ favorite lunch eats from Los Angeles to New York, and get the full recipes on Adweek.com, courtesy of Bon Appétit chef de cuisine Mary Nolan.
 

1

Ezra Klein, editor in chief and co-founder of Vox

The Washington Post agrees: Central does one of the best burgers in the capital.

The Central Burger
Central Michel Richard, Washington, D.C.
4 servings

1½  lb. ground beef chuck, preferably dry-aged
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
4 ½"-thick tomato slices
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted

¼ cup crushed kettle-cooked potato chips
Cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, bacon (optional)

Divide the beef into 4 parts and form 4 patties about the size of the buns. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2–3 hours.

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomato slices on the prepared pan and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Top with thyme leaves and garlic slices. Place in the oven for 1 hour to dry slightly and concentrate the flavor. Cool the tomatoes on the pan and, if preparing in advance, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Bring to room temperature before using.

Combine the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear burgers until a dark-brown crust is achieved, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes more until other side is dark brown. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 4 minutes for medium-rare (if using cheese, place on burgers before putting them in the oven).

Divide mayonnaise mixture among the bun halves. Place the burgers on the bottom halves of the buns. Top each with a slice of roasted tomato, a quarter of the crushed potato chips, and caramelized onions and bacon, if using.

2

Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appétit

“If I’m doing a ‘working’ lunch with my publisher, Pamela Drucker Mann, we’ll sit outside at The Standard Grill at The Standard Hotel, and we’re definitely having a drink,” said Rapoport.

High Line Fling punch
The Standard Grill, New York
12 servings

2 cups orange liqueur, such as Combier Liqueur d’Orange or Cointreau
2 cups fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 750-ml bottle Champagne, chilled
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers (optional; for serving)

In a large punch bowl, combine orange liqueur and grapefruit juice. Just before serving, add Champagne and gently stir. Add 6 cups ice and top with lavender flowers, if using.

3

Jackie de Crinis, evp of original programming at USA Network

“Simple ingredients sing in this summer dish that highlights the versatility of corn,” said Nolan.

Purée of Sweet Corn
AMMO, Los Angeles
Serves 6

2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large onion, diced
1 large leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
6 ears corn, shucked
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil 

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut corn kernels from cobs into a large bowl. Once kernels have been removed, using the back of your knife, scrape cobs to remove any remaining kernels. Add this (and any liquid) to the corn.

Add corn and potato to saucepan; season with salt and pepper. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until corn and potato are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth (alternatively, working in batches, purée in a regular blender until smooth; return to saucepan); season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, topping each with basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

4

Paul Parton, CEO, The Brooklyn Brothers

“It’s Belgian comfort food of the highest order,” Parton said.

Chicken Vol-au-Vent 
Petite Abeille, New York
8 servings

2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 large leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 3–4 lb. chicken
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. small white mushrooms, trimmed, quartered
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 16–18 oz. box frozen puff pastry, thawed
½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 large egg, beaten to blend
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light cream
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
4 pieces thick-cut bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. dry Sherry
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place carrots, onion, leek, and bay leaves in a large pot. Place chicken on top of vegetables and add 6 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender and fully cooked, flipping the chicken halfway through, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Reserve the cooking liquid and vegetables. When chicken is cooled, shred the meat into bite-size pieces and discard the bones and skin.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.

Preheat oven to 425°. On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry sheet(s) to 1/8" thick. Cut into 8 squares and place on a baking sheet. Brush with egg and bake until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly and pale, 1 minute. Stir in cream and reserved chicken cooking liquid and vegetables (about 7 cups); season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat and ladle a small amount of the liquid into a small bowl with the egg yolk, whisking constantly. Then add the yolk mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Add chicken, mushrooms, bacon, and Sherry. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Return to heat and bring to a simmer.

Divide puff pastry among 8 plates and top with chicken mixture. Garnish with parsley.

5

Brenda White, evp, managing director, Starcom

“This hearty salad stays true to its steak house roots with meaty portobellos and crouton-like crispy potatoes,” Nolan said.

Wollensky Salad 
Smith & Wollensky, Chicago
4 servings

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 large portobello mushroom caps (about ½ pound)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Kosher salt
½ cup vegetable oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 pieces thick-cut bacon, cooked until crisp and then cut into ½-inch pieces

Mix the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and ½ cup olive oil together in a shallow baking dish and add mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Place mushrooms on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook until mushrooms are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Let cool, slice into ¼-inch strips, and set aside.

Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil. As soon as water boils, remove from heat, drain potatoes, and cool on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add potatoes and cook until golden brown on all sides and tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and place on a paper towel to cool.

Whisk vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, while whisking, stream in remaining ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup vegetable oil.

To assemble, place romaine in a large bowl and toss with dressing (you might not need all the dressing). Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide salad evenly among 4 plates and top each with a quarter of the tomatoes, bacon, potatoes, and mushrooms.