Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic

This week I have chosen to cover the classic Southern sauce: red-eye gravy. This sauce owes the name of its origin to its appearance – where, if it’s left to sit in a bowl, the gravy will separate and resemble the human eye. This sauce is usually associated country ham, something that is popular throughout the region.

Traditional red-eye gravy

1 lb​Country ham, sliced
1 cup​Coffee, black
2 tbsp​Butter
to taste​Salt, pepper

Allow a medium-sized cast iron pan to get warm over medium-high heat. Remove some fat from the ham and allow this fat to render in pan. Once fat has rendered, sear your ham – allowing it to get golden-brown on both sides. Once all the ham is seared, remove from the pan and de-glaze the pan with coffee. Add butter and season to taste. Serve over ham, biscuits or grits.

Jonathan’s red-eye gravy

1 lb​Linguica, halved, sliced 2 inches long
2 oz​Pancetta fat
½ cup​Espresso
½ cup​Chicken stock
4 tbsp​Butter
to taste​Sea salt, fresh cracked pepper.

Allow a medium-sized cast iron pan to get warm over medium-high heat. Place pancetta fat into pan and allow to render. Once fat has rendered, sear your linguica – allowing it to get dark brown on the cut side. Once all the linguica is seared, remove from the pan and de-glaze the pan with chicken stock. Reduce by half, then add your coffee. Reduce by half again. Add butter and season to taste. Serve over linguica, rice or grits.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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