Cook like Highlands Bar and Grill

Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 4, 2017

At the doctor’s office today I was telling the nurse about my big night in Birmingham eating at Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill. She took down the name and said she would have to try and go since she loved good food. Then as I was looking through ‘People’ magazine, waiting to see the doctor, I came across ‘People’s’ best restaurant in every state. Well, you guessed it, Highlands was the best in Alabama and I immediately showed it to the nurse. She believed me for sure then!

I had waited almost a year to have a Highland’s martini, and yes, it was worth the wait. I am not a martini fan usually, but I do love the ones they serve there. It’s shaken and brought to the table in its shaker; the glass is filled, sparkling with ice slivers; have a sip or two; and the shaker is still there for a topping off. My husband had raw oysters and I chose a shrimp cocktail which I had not tried before; the shrimp were so sweet and the sauce a little spicy; the combination was great. We chose a venison tart for our appetizer and I cannot describe how flaky and tasty this tart was. It was filled with delicious venison, turnips, and sweet potatoes with a maple and black truffle glaze. YUM! My husband chose a grass-fed beef tenderloin with an onion pudding for his main course which he said was divine. I chose the duck served with spinach and vegetables. It was the best duck breast I have ever had. Our glass of Spanish Rioja was a great accompaniment.

The cornbread served at Highlands is also the best anywhere–yummy. I have tried to duplicate it, but even using his recipe; it is not the same. I know he uses Benton’s bacon, which I don’t have on hand all the time. (I need to place a new order.) I need the recipe for the venison tart and the onion pudding. Something to go back for.

Mr. Stitt was not at the restaurant while we there, but probably came in later to check on everything. Next time I am getting a picture with him. It’s about time!

I came home and immediately got out his cookbooks and chose a recipe to do. Since it is oyster season once again I chose the oyster pan roast. So simple and so good!!!

Alabama you can be proud of this fine restaurant!


From Frank Stitt’s Southern Table

Oyster Pan Roast with Crawfish and Buttery Croutons

Serves 4 as an appetizer

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 shallots, finely minced

2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely minced

¼ cup dry white vermouth

16-20 oysters, shucked and every bit of their liquor reserved and strained, or ½ pint shucked oysters, drained, liquor strained and reserved

¼ pound fresh crawfish tail meat (You can substitute lump crabmeat or boiled and chopped shrimp.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

Hot Sauce such as Tabasco or Cholula, to taste

8 slices crustless French baguette, toasted and buttered

Scant 1 tablespoon sliced chives

1 heaping tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 heaping tablespoon chervil leaves

In a large nonreactive saucepan, melt a scant tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until aromatic and soft, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth and bring to a hard boil. Add the oysters, their liquor, and the crawfish, lower the heat to medium, and cook for about 2 minutes, turning the oysters over as they firm and curl.

Add the salt and pepper, raise the heat, and swirl in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter bit by bit. Add the lemon juice. Add the hot sauce and remove from the heat. Place the croutons in shallow bowls and immediately spoon the pan roast over, dividing the oysters evenly. Garnish with the fresh herbs leaves and serve.

So easy and delicious!

Frank Stitt has the best chef’s cookbooks that I have ever cooked from. His recipes work. It is not just a pretty book.