Sunday, June 28, 2009

Post Dispatch says Gallagher's Fried Chicken is Best in the St Louis Metro-East Area
If my posts have been far and few between lately it is because I have been on some fried chicken odyssey. In May the St Louis Post Dispatch began a contest for readers to vote for their favorite fried chicken. The Post then visited the top 5 restaurants and reviewed the chicken with large color photos and a continuing dialogue that also included their web site. To make a long story less tedious, Gallagher's was named best. Upsetting Hodak's (a restaurant specialising in fried chicken since time immemorial) reign. Since then we have been seating record breaking crowds, who knew St Louisans loved fried chicken so much?
Originally we only served fried chicken on Sundays, and it was the only thing we served on Sunday, family style. Since the article was published we have added it to the regular menu as so many people were arriving for fried chicken every night of the week. Many became irate that we didn't offer fried chicken all the time eventhough the article clearly stated it was only available on Sundays. Fried chicken done properly is not an easy task.
Our chicken is fresh-never frozen-brined for at least 12 hours, then hand breaded, and fried in small batches. The traditional sides are corn custard, mashed potatoes, gravy, long simmered green beans with ham, biscuits, and a home style dessert made by Mrs Gallagher. Seriously, I've had one long-time cook quit over it all-he wanted to cook somthing "fancier". We reworked all the recipes to expand the numbers being served, as well as purchasing new equipment. It was almost like starting over as all the recipes had to be tested and re-tested. All new equipment has its own learning curve to it until everyone is used to working with it.
The first week the article came out we served 310 dinners, there was a 2 hour wait for tables, and another 45 minutes before I could get food to the table. Keep in mind previous to the article, we usually served betwee 150 and 200. One disgruntled guest declared that the Post must have been drunk when they named us best. Last week I am happy to report we served 380 guests with minimal waits for tables and 8 minutes for me to get chicken to the tables. Since we do not share the chicken recipe, here is a picture of one of our lovely servers taking a tray of the platters of food to the table.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moorish Zucchini Salad

Just in time for the local zucchini crop, I give you this Spanish-moorish salad.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 pounds small zucchini, thinly sliced

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup raisins

Several threads of Saffron

1/4 cup minced Italian parsley

1/4 cup minced mint

Juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to your liking

Brown the garlic in the oil, to flavor it-discard the garlic, after the oil is flavored

Briefly saute the zucchini until al dente

Remove the zucchini to a mixing bowl

Add the pine nutes to the saute pan and toast them

Add the pine nuts, raisins, Saffron, lemon juice, parsley, and mint to the zucchini, mix and let marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator

Serve on a bed of salad greens or on grilled bread slices

Monday, June 08, 2009


One of our most favorite clients, Traci, perished in a horrible auto accident last week. She was a delightful woman with a lot of spunk. I always enjoyed bantering with her. Here she is enjoying appetizers and drinks with her husband. He is gravely injured still in the hospital. She also leaves behind a daughter in high school. So sad.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Another Kitchen Conservatory Class

I taught another class at the Kitchen Conservatory last night. I always meet such nice folks at these classes. Many of them know me from the restaurant, but often there are new faces who usually make it to the restaurant after they take a class. Last night's menu was Pine Nut encrusted salmon with orange-basil butter, Spring peas with Boston lettuce and fresh mint, Potatoes Dauphinois with roasted peppers and Fontina, and Strawberry-Rhubarb Clafouti.

Here is the recipe for the peas, if you like peas, you will really enjoy this preparation.

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups shell peas
1/4 cup sliced scallion
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 small head of tender lettuce, such as Boston, sliced into chifffonade
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh mint

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and saute the carrots until they begin to soften, add the sugar and caramelize slightly.

Add the chicken stock and lemon and bring to the boil.

Add the peas and cook until tender, add the lettuce chiffonade and continue to cook until the lettuce wilts.

Remove from heat and top with the fresh mint