Eat & Drink

5 Queen City Recipes to Create at Home

With the Stay-at-Home order in effect until the end of April, try making some of these popular recipes from Charlotte restaurants and bars.

With the Stay-at-Home order in effect until the end of April, Charlotte-area restaurants have shifted to takeout or curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community, let’s continue to support these businesses by ordering delicious meals from eateries throughout the Queen City. Check out our Pitch In. Take Out. page for a detailed list of the various takeout options.

When you choose to cook from home, try making some of these popular recipes from Charlotte restaurants and bars – from Mama Ricotta’s to Brewers at 4001 Yancey.

Photo courtesy of Tim Robison

Brewers at 4001 Yancey - Crispy Potato Stack

When Southern Tier and Victory Brewing opened Brewers at 4001 Yancey, the shared space became a mammoth addition to Lower South End’s already busy beer sector. The taproom boasts more than 120 tap handles with 40 different offerings. Think that’s over the top? You should see its menu. Burgers, pizza, barbecue, fried chicken and decadent starters like this one—let’s call this “beer cheese-soaked potato heaven”—invite guests to indulge and indulge again.

Ingredients for the Potato Cream
-1 pound chopped bacon
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-2 tablespoons chopped thyme
-2 cloves of chopped garlic
-1 chopped shallot
-2 tablespoons kosher salt

Ingredients for the Cheese Sauce
-1/2 pound all-purpose flour
-1/2 unsalted butter
-1 1/2 pound shredded sharp cheddar
-1/4 pound shredded provolone
-4 cups of milk
-1 pint Victory Brewing’s Prima Pilsner
-1 kosher salt and black pepper to taste
-3 pounds unpeeled Idaho Potatoes
-1/4 pound butter
-Crispy bacon

Preparation for the Potato
In a sauté pan, render the chopped bacon, until crispy. Add chopped garlic, shallots, and thyme. Cook until soft. Remove from heat and strain the bacon mixture. Discard the grease.

In a large bowl, combine the bacon mixture with the heavy cream, salt and pepper.Slice the potatoes as thin as possible, preferably on a mandolin. Immediately lay the sliced potatoes in the cream and bacon mixture. In a parchment-lined and buttered baking pan, lay the potato slices across the pan until the bottom is completely covered with potatoes in a single layer. Next, add another layer, and then another until you have eight layers of potatoes.Cover with parchment and foil and bake on 350 for one hour.

Pierce with a knife to make sure the potatoes are tender. Uncover and cool for 15 minutes. Lay a piece of parchment on top and another pan of equal size over the parchment. Place soup cans or any other heavy items to press the potatoes. Put the potatoes in the fridge and let sit overnight.

Preparation for the Cheese Sauce
In a sauce pan, melt butter, add flour and whisk together to make a roux.Slowly add in milk and whisk, making sure there are no lumps. Add the cheese and stir into the milk until fully melted. Next, add the beer and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

To Plate
Take the potatoes out of the fridge and flip over onto a cutting board. Remove the potatoes from the pan and cut into squares. Heat the squares in the oven on a greased pan until crispy. Spoon cheese sauce onto a plate, stack the potatoes on the cheese sauce and garnish with crispy bacon and scallions.

Mama Ricotta’s - Creamy Mascarpone and Goat Cheese Dip

Mama Ricotta’s Italian Restaurant has been serving—and winning awards for—owner Frank Scibelli’s family recipes since 1996. So, it should come as no surprise that we wanted to steal some of the spotlight for our own kitchens. Drizzled with a warm tomato basil sauce, this goat cheese starter comes encircled with hearty slices of freshly baked ciabatta bread—a classic Italian cheese-sauce-carbs combination. Buon appetito!

This recipe creates 12 portions.

Ingredients for the Goat Cheese Dip
-11 ounces goat cheese
-1 cup softened cream cheese
-5 ounces mascarpone
-Pinch ground black pepper
-Pinch Kosher salt
-8 ounces tomato basil sauce

Combine all ingredients except the tomato basil sauce in a small mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Place cheese mixture in a bowl, and pour the warmed tomato basil sauce over the cheese. Serve immediately with toasted ciabatta bread.

Ingredients for the Tomato Basil Sauce
-5 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
-5 cloves peeled and minced garlic
-2 28-ounce cans of Italian whole tomatoes crushed in a food processer
-1 teaspoon Kosher salt
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1 tablespoon parsley
-8-10 leaves of fresh basil, roughly torn

In a heavy gauge, medium sauce pan, warm the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add in the tomato, salt, pepper, parsley and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring constantly until it thickens.

Toss in the torn, fresh basil, and turn off the heat.

Photo courtesy of Tim Robison

Mert’s Heart & Soul- Salmon Cakes

By now, we all know Mert’s Heart & Soul serves some of the best soul food in the South. (Your collard greens and shrimp and grits aren’t featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” for nothing.) The Uptown restaurant has been in the Queen City since 1998, and even 20 years later, owners James and Renee Brazzelle still dish out entrees that inspire ungodly appetites. Take these salmon cakes, for instance. Served with tartar sauce or remoulade, these filling appetizers offer Mert’s guests a taste of New Orleans and tease to savory Lowcountry and Gullah dishes ahead.

-1 pound poached salmon
-1/4 cup cracker meal
-1 small chopped green pepper
-1 small chopped onion
-1 beaten egg
-2 tablespoons granulated garlic
-2 teaspoons Adobo seasoning
-Lemon juice
-Salt to taste, if needed
-2 tablespoons Texas Pete hot sauce

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Shape the mixture into six cakes. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Sauté the cakes until they’re golden brown on each side (about 3-5 minutes per side). Garnish the cakes with tartar sauce, remoulade or simply with a squeeze of lemon.

Superica - Sopa de Tortilla

Atlanta-based chefs Ford Fry and Kevin Maxey, both Texas natives, opened Charlotte’s first Superica in 2018. From there, the community’s love for its nachos, its brunch and its tequila have grown and grown into new locations—another in Strawberry Hill. Although we can’t physically be at either of the restaurants right now, making this soup a weekly lunch or dinner staple is something we can definitely look forward to.

This recipe makes six servings.

-1 large onion, diced
-1 poblano pepper, diced
-1 large carrot, sliced thin
-3 tablespoons canola oil
-1 can (15.5oz) white hominy, drained
-8 cups chicken broth
-2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
-1 tablespoon cumin
-1/4 cup Ancho chile powder
-3 teaspoons table salt

-Tortilla strips
-Fresh, chopped cilantro
-Avocado slices
-Lime slices
-Crumbled queso fresco

Sauté the onion, poblano pepper and carrot in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in hominy, broth, chicken breast and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes. Remove from heat, and remove chicken breast and shred. Return to pot and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

Photo courtesy of Tim Robison

Zeppelin - Fried Green Tomato Caprese

Invention, or reinvention really, is the name of the game at Zeppelin, the upscale South End restaurant and cocktail lounge named after one of history’s most inventive airlifts. With a kitchen helmed by Vince Giancarlo (formerly of Mama Ricotta’s), the steampunk-inspired restaurant’s menu is thoughtfully curated to be both familiar and inspired. Make one of the restaurant’s reinventions your own with this small-plate recipe, which, in true Zeppelin style, marries fried green tomatoes with caprese.

This recipe serves three people.

Ingredients for the Breaded Tomatoes
-1 green tomato, firm, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
-2 cups yellow cornmeal
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-2 eggs, whipped smooth and seasoned
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until evenly incorporated. Bread the tomato slices using the standard breading procedure. Coat each slice evenly in all-purpose flour, then fully coat the slice in egg wash. Next, evenly coat the slices in the cornmeal mixture. Store on a plate or platter lightly dusted with flour to keep the tomatoes from sticking.

Ingredients for the Creole Red Gravy
-2 cups marinara sauce
-2 teaspoons blackened seasoning (house blend or Chef Paul's Blackened Redfish Magic)

In a small sauce pot, heat the tomato sauce to a boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer. Whisk in the seasoning, and stir until incorporated. Allow to simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat and store for plating.

Ingredients for the Sorghum Balsamic Reduction
-1 cup sorghum molasses
-1/5 cup balsamic vinegar

In a small pot, combine the sorghum and balsamic and allow to reduce slowly, by half. Remove the reduction from the heat and allow to cool until thick like syrup

Final Preparation
To plate, fry two slices of breaded green tomato in a deep fryer until golden brown. Meanwhile, drizzle the sorghum balsamic reduction onto each plate evenly. Add a small pile of the creole gravy to the plate. Place one 3-ounce portion of fresh burrata in the center of the pile of gravy. Add the two slices of fried green tomato to the plate and top with baby kale mix and pickled cabbage or sauerkraut (optional). Finish with a few thin ribbons of basil, nice salt, fresh cracked pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil.