In a tiny kitchen in brownstone Brooklyn restaurant Bergen Hill, chef Andrew D'Ambrosi is running one of the most inventive seafood restaurants in America. Though constrained by limited space and gear more fit for a Central Park snack bar than mini Mugaritz (the setup includes four induction burners, a panini press and small ice cream machine), the former Le Cirque chef and Top Chef scene stealer is composing dishes made with extraordinary flavor combos (Mayweather 1-2s) and personality.
He’s been known to riff on dishes filed away from years of world travel, including a langoustine and yolky egg carpacio toque tip to the great Catalan tapas spot Bar Mut in Barcelona. This controlled madcappery continue last week when D'Ambrosi introduced the KFB to the menu at his Carroll Gardens sleeper hit (right across the street from buzzy Dover, another seafood-focused spot). What’s this KFB? That would be Kentucky Fried Blowfish. We reached out to the chef to find out the deal, who wrote us this KFB manifesto:
Blowfish are magically delicious oceanic morsels, not unlike a pygmy monkfish in structure, with a very mild, delicate flesh the size of a chicken wing perfect for frying. And like their edible avialae brethren they respond well to a buttermilk brine.
Now, to be clear, these are not the nefarious poisonous variety you've heard about, mythically pulled from the seas of Japan and served to adventure-seekers. The ones I use are from Long Island (you can tell by the accent). I can tell you that they're 100% poison-free — and 110% that they are basically begging to be dropped into a hot pot of oil.
To seasoned the flour I use is a proprietary blend of spices aptly named "Andrew Spice" — I can't tell you exactly what's in it, but I will say it contains a mixture that mimics the flavor of the world's most popular fried poultry purveyor. The outcome is awesome.
The KFB is served with a corn puree infused with tarragon and a salad of fennel, tomato and pickled cherries. Dressed with a vinaigrette of equal parts red wine vinegar and honey, finished with a good amount of cracked black pepper. The final garnish is a few potent drops of scotch bonnet honey.
Feel the burn.
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