Cookbook Review: Come Early, Stay Late by Brian Malarkey

My friend, Chef Joe Youkhan, was on a show on ABC last year, called The Taste. Although, he didn’t make it through the first cut, I was enthralled with the concept of professional chefs and home cooks competing for the same prize with a mere spoonful of “Taste”. The judges on the show were Chef Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Chef  Ludo Lefebvre and Chef Brian Malarkey. Chef Brian had a vibrance to him – fun, energetic, and a love of food. I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Brian at the 2013 LA Food & Wine Festival and actually got to taste his creation of Lamb Tartar. Even in person, he was very personable and you could see his love of food, wearing like a badge of honor on his chef coat. His creations make you “eat with your eyes”. It’s not about the fanciful dots of sauce on the plate or the perfect placement of each grain of rice. It all comes down to the taste. Not that his food isn’t pretty to look at, it’s that so much emphasis was placed on presentation over the years, people forgot what really great food tastes like. As the Season 3 Top Chef Finalist, Chef Brian rose to celebrity chef status and with his restaurant group, Enlightening Hospitality, he has developed a fan following in San Diego and Los Angeles. Come Early, Stay Late pays homage to his restaurants by giving each a chapter in the book to showcase some of their favorite recipes.  

In the Searsucker (for his restaurant located in the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego) chapter, Searsucker’s Cali Belgique Short Rib Sandwich + Horseradish Sauce sounded mighty tasty. Short rib is one of my favorite dishes in restaurants and decided to make it this at home for the very first time. I treated it like a roast to get the moist, tender texture you come to expect. All in all, this is a great recipe with some minor tweaks for the home kitchen will make it perfect. The short rib needed to cook for 5 ½ hours to get the right tender texture. I purchase my short rib from Costco so I’m not sure if it was the meat wasn’t the right quality to begin with or if it just needed more time. I’m glad I did this the night before so it was ready for the sandwiches the next day. I would also season the short ribs with some salt as the beef and chicken stock did not have enough salt in them to bring out more of the beef flavor. I would also add double the amount of horseradish to the sauce to kick it up a notch. The sour cream really does take over the flavor a bit and needed more horseradish to balance with the complex flavors of the short rib. The fried onions turned out perfectly and are very easy to make. The pesto is out-of-this-world! It had just enough garlic for the punch so as not to be overbearing. It had a vibrant green color and refreshing flavor. You’ll have leftovers so toss it up with some angel hair pasta. I bought my French baguettes from Lee’s Sandwiches, freshly baked that morning. They had the perfect crisp outside and tender inside that helps soak up some braising liquid. There will be a lot of braising liquid left over. It will make a great soup or stew base or you can use it when making a pot of rice or quinoa - lots of beefy goodness in there, not to be wasted. A dash of Tabasco or Sriracha would be great too. Thumbs up, way up!


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