By Tim Bruderek
Kyle Knall’s history with ICE goes back further than many may realize. When he was just a young chef starting his career in Birmingham, Alabama, Knall worked for ICE’s very own Chef-Instructor James Briscione. After spending time in restaurant kitchens and perfecting his unique style of southern cooking, Knall decided to bring the famous flavors of the south to New York City, opening Maysville, where he serves as the owner and executive chef.
Maysville, named for the Kentucky port town that is the birthplace of bourbon, is known for its expansive list of whiskey, scotch, and bourbon – along with its sumptuous recipes. After about a year, business is booming and Knall has put Maysville on the culinary map.
Chef Kyle Knall brought his expertise to ICE to teach ‘Signature Dishes from Maysville,’ a class full of eager fans of modern southern cuisine – and of course bourbon. All of Maysville’s ingredients are sourced locally, either from the Union Square Greenmarket or various farms in Upstate New York. The menu focuses on seasonal ingredients and fresh flavors, inspiring Chef Knall to create simple dishes with precise technique and the freshest ingredients possible.
The dishes we cooked were simple but extremely flavorful, and we learned how to prepare them with special care and with interesting techniques. On the menu was a flaky smoked trout (prepared using a homemade smoker) with charred red onions, along with a colorful heirloom tomato salad (sourced from the Union Square Greenmarket) with crispy fried oysters and garnished with fresh basil micro greens. And we can’t forget the ‘Chicken under a Brick’: a de-boned chicken that was butterflied, seared on the stove top under a foil-wrapped brick, and finished in the oven, which was served alongside an array of roasted seasonal vegetables.
But the highlight of the menu was Maysville’s famous Crispy Grits with Country Ham and Bourbon Aioli – which has been described as ‘the perfect bite’ – and I can’t disagree. When you’re talking about deep fried grits, how can you go wrong?
To finish off the meal, Chef Knall whipped up an easy and flavorful dessert – apple granita with sheep’s milk yogurt. This simple dessert began with a combination of fresh apples and tarragon put through the juicer, set in the freezer and scraped with a fork, then poured over a creamy and tart sheep’s milk yogurt. It was the perfect light ending to an incredible meal.
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit Maysville to sample the dishes and indulge in some great whiskey, I suggest you try it – you won’t be disappointed. And be sure to chat with Kyle to pick his brain!
I’ll share the recipe for my (and pretty much everyone else’s) favorite dish of the night. And don’t worry, if you don’t want to deep fry the grits, they are fantastic on their own. Just don’t forget the bourbon!
CRISPY GRITS with COUNTRY HAM
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups of grape seed oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon aioli
- 1 teaspoon of Bourbon
Whisk egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard and salt together. Drizzle oil in slowly until aioli is emulsified. Finish with bourbon.
- 1 cup grits
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- ½ pound unsalted butter
- 4 shots Tabasco
- Bring liquid and butter to boil. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Whisk Grits in slowly and continue to whisk for two minutes.
- Once grits are incorporated lower heat to low and simmer until cooked approximately 2 hours.
- Cool grits on sheet pan.
- Once cooled. Portion grits and dust with flour.
- Fry at 375º F
- To serve, put a drop of Aioli on each grit. Slice Ham and place on grit.