Water Grill’s Holiday Recipe

Posted on 11. Dec, 2009 by in Lifestyle

Sitting solo in my cozy booth for one at Water Grill on this overcast Tuesday afternoon, I’m feeling abundantly selfish. ‘Tis the season for rich, calming, comfort food, and it doesn’t get more comfortable than one-and-a-quarter succulent pounds of lobster lounging in a perfectly toasted brioche futon. It’s called a Lobster Roll. They make them at Water Grill and export the leftovers to heaven. After one blissful bite, the weight of my Scrooge overcoat of isolation has vanished from my shoulders.
Executive Chef David LeFevre sits down and recounts some holiday memories and the adventurous kitchen he knew as a boy. One Thanksgiving, his mother had an announcement. ‘I’m not gonna do turkey,’ he recalls her saying. ‘We’re gonna do chicken with basil and peaches!’ It’s not on the menu, but that spirit of individualism lives on in LeFevre’s recipes. Notably, his blue cheese and sugar pumpkin salad—with its cherry pieces and dusting of crisp sage leaves—is light, festive, and tangy.
On Christmas mornings, LeFevre’s mother would bake Saint Nicholas Day letters: flaky, buttery pie dough that was piped with marzipan before being rolled up like a scroll. “She’d bake those and they’d split open and they always turned into this behemoth pastry.” As a boy, LeFevre caught oysters, lobster, and soft-shell blue crab during summers at his grandparents’ house on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It wasn’t until years later that he realized just how precious those catches were.
LeFevre says the biggest misconception about holiday cooking is that it has to be complicated and difficult. “My mother used to make a kumquat and cranberry dressing and we loved it,” he says. “It was just a pound of kumquats, a pound of cranberries, orange juice, star anise, and sugar, brought to a boil—really tart and tangy, but sweet.” He suggests avoiding the afternoon “frantic kitchen dance” by doing as much preparation (peel the potatoes, make the stuffing, remove errant strands of tinsel from the bean casserole) the day before or the morning of. And don’t coerce couch potatoes into supporting roles in the kitchen, he advises. After all, someone has to wash the dishes. Water Grill is open Mon. - Fri. 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Sat. 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., and Sun. 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

544 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 213.891.0900

CHEF David LeFevre’s Oyster and Shrimp Cornbread Stuffing

Yield: 8-10 servings

1 loaf cornbread (recipe at www.hmonthly.com)
1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil (if needed)
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/4 tbsp. black pepper
2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
18 oysters, shucked, drained, and chopped
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Crumble cornbread and spread on trays and bake in oven, until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool bread in trays on racks, and then transfer to a large bowl.
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet.
Cook onions, celery, thyme, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper in fat in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cornbread, then stir in bacon, parsley, butter, shrimp and oysters. Drizzle with stock, then season with salt and pepper and toss well.
Transfer stuffing to a buttered shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

-Jason Dean

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One Response to “Water Grill’s Holiday Recipe”

  1. Sasha By the Sea

    18. Feb, 2010

    I have tasted the wonderful food at Water Grill before and I must confess this article makes me want to rent out the place again and eat every f*n dish on the menu.

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