Dishes become classics because they satisfy. With roots firmly planted in memory, we make these dishes again and again, but sometimes we wish they would go beyond the familiar to sparkle with a new light. David Burke, known for playful and innovative dishes such as smoked salmon pastrami and goat cheese lollipops, has turned his imaginative eyes to the classics, discovered their essentially satisfying characteristics, then played with them to turn them into haute cuisine. In David Burke's New American Classics, he gives fool-proof recipes for our most beloved dishes, then follows each classic recipe with a variation that belongs on the gourmet tables. Continuing to exercise his unstoppable imagination, he adds a third recipe to turn any leftovers into a third gourmet dinner.
Do you like a classic roast chicken? Burke gives a recipe to ensure success for this classic. Next he innovates and offers a recipe for Sea-water-Soaked Chicken with Thyme and Poppy Seed Gnocchi. And to make a lovely meal on the second day, one that is different and inspires comments like "Yum," instead of "Not that again," he continues with a recipe for Chicken-Potato Pancakes with Apple-Sour Cream Sauce.
For hot summer days, Burke first gives us a classic Grilled Lobster with Rosemary Oil, Asparagus and Tomato-Garlic Aioli, then follows this with a the most requested recipe at his restaurant davidburke & donatella - Angry Lobster with Lemon Rice and Crispy Basil. Any leftovers? Use them to make Lobster-Mango Rolls with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette. The old standby, Macaroni and Cheese, also gets his innovative touch with a contemporary variation - Macaroni and Cheese Tartlette with Mushroom and Truffle Oil. Leftovers? How about Macaroni and Cheese Fritters, sure to elicit those "yums.' Not overlooking dessert, Burke gives a recipe for the classic Brooklyn Brownout Cake then contemporizes it as Molten Chocolate Cake. For second-day glory it becomes Chocolate Cake "Truffles" in a Chocolate Bag.
The most classic dishes are served at holidays, and Burke enlivens those dishes, too. A Classic Roast Turkey with Condiments is given new life as Roast Half Turkey with Bread Pudding, Chestnut-Turkey Carpaccio, and Candied Lemon Peel. As we all know, after a turkey meal come the dread leftovers, frequently plain sandwiches that become tiresome, but Burke turns dread to excitement with Sweet Potato-Turkey Chowder.
Burke is known for his humorous sensibility in the kitchen. He is having fun, and the joy he experiences in being creative enlivens his dishes. They are full of zest, but based on Burke's respect for food. "I have tried to elicit the essence of each classic dish," says Burke. "When I introduce a new note into a time-honored recipe, I always remain faithful to its basic conception." Continuing, he recognizes the changes in a dish over time by saying, "Health concerns, the availability of international ingredients, both fresh and processed, and modern kitchen appliances have each played a part in the transformation of a classic into a New American Kitchen Classic."
About the authors: David Burke is the co-author, with Carmel Berman Reingold, of Cooking with David Burke. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was trained in France and was the first American to be awarded the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d'Honneur. He is the executive chef and co-owner of davidburke & donatella, and executive chef and sole owner of David Burke at Bloomingdale's.
Judith Choate is the award-winning author of twenty-one cookbooks and the coauthor of The Tribeca Grill Cookbook and The Art of Aureole, among others.