Skillet: The Book (January 24, 2017)
Street food. It's here, and it's redefined the scope of American restaurants, with amazing and often international dishes available from a stand, cart or movable kitchen out on the street. Starving at noon? Pop out of your office, line up and soon you're soon walking away with an almost instant gourmet meal to be enjoyed in the location of your choice! These little eateries are found in more and more places, they are almost always a one-off operation; what you see is what it is: instant gratification parked on a city grid!
One of the most talked-about food trucks – for good reason – is Skillet in Seattle, conceived by Josh Henderson in 2006. Looking for something more than tacos, he wanted to put haute cuisine on wheels, so in 2007 he bought an Airstream trailer and started serving his basic tenet of satisfying a simple need: hunger!
Raising the bar from tacos and hot dogs to epicurean bistro fare, Henderson has created an empire of his simple dream to feed people delicious and satisfying food on the street when they need it.
And oh, what food...
Henderson has a delightful checkered past; he began life as a missionary's kid living in Hong Kong and India, graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in music and then attended the Culinary Institute of America In Hyde Park, NY. After working at numerous hotels and restaurants, he created Skillet in 2007, with an immediate and passionate reception from hungry Seattleites!
The Skillet Cookbook is more than great recipes; it's filled with stories and photos, including Henderson's recipe on how to make the legendary Skillet Burger, the convoluted saga of running a street food truck in spite of Victorian-era regulations and thinking, and how the whole business was saved by his legendary Bacon Jam with help from Martha Stewart!
You must have this excellent cookbook; it's a delicious read all round!
The eponymous signature dish at Skillet. Chef Josh says "This burger has made us who we are in a sense; it's a great marriage of complementary flavors, with the saltiness of blue cheese, the bitterness of arugula, the sweetness of bacon jam, and the solid foundation of the bun. It's consistently been the most ordered item on the menu at the cart and the diner. It's been on magazine covers, featured on TV – it's basically our opus."
And here's why...
Makes 4 burgers
- 4 (6-ounce) patties high-quality ground beef, grass-fed if possible
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 brioche buns, split
- 4 (1-ounce) slices Cambazola cheese
- 8 Tbsp Skillet Bacon Jam, or another bacon jam or strips of
- 2 cups loosely packed arugula
- Season the patties well with salt and pepper. Preheat an outdoor gas grill or heat a stovetop grill pan on medium. When the grill is hot, quickly toast the buns and set them aside. Grill the burgers for about 3 minutes on one side. Flip them, place the cheese on top and cook for about 3 minutes on the second side.
- Remove the burgers from the heat and let them rest for another 3 minutes. Spread each side of the buns with a tablespoon of bacon jam. Pile some arugula on the bottom buns and add the burgers.
Tony's wine recommendation:
Valpolicella Ripasso, Zinfandel or (to impress your guests) Amarone
*Bacon Jam? Well of course you've tried bacon jam... we did a while back and are totally hooked. It's the tastiest new condiment in a long time and elevates good plain food up to a whole 'nother level.
For more information and to order Skillet's Bacon Jam (YES it's worth it!) go to www.skilletfood.com.
We wish to thank Sasquatch Books, Seattle, and Random House Canada, Toronto, for permission to publish material and photographs from The Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto by Josh Henderson. © 2012 Josh Henderson. Photographs by Sarah Jurado.
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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.