Before David Burke’s Fabrick opened in New York City last May, Executive Chef Adin Langille worked with the restaurant’s namesake to develop an upscale rendition of chips and dip to fit the modern American shared plates concept. The result: a smooth twist on guacamole that embodies Burke’s style and Langille’s innovation, and still plays to customers’ penchant for the familiar starter.
1. Texture rules
To highlight avocado’s buttery texture, Langille purees the flesh rather than mashing it. It is then blended with warm gelatin to form a creamy but distinct layer. “I had to play with this step a bit, varying the amount of gelatin until I got the texture just right—a silky but firm panna cotta,” he says.
2. Pico with polish
Fresh pico de gallo, made in house, forms the first layer of the appetizer. The avocado mixture goes on next, topped by a thin coating of sour cream to keep the avocado from oxidizing. For the final layer, Langille roasts baby heirloom tomatoes and sprinkles on ground cumin.
3. What glass to go with?
To showcase the colorful layers, the chef chose small glass bowls as the serving vessel. “I tried several containers in different sizes and shapes, including a martini glass,” Langille says, “but the individual bowls gave the best presentation.”
4. New-age nachos
The avocado panna cotta is plated with housemade plantain and blue corn chips sprinkled with cheese—Langille’s take on nachos. The appetizer’s food costs and labor are modest, he says, and it’s turned into the best-selling starter at Fabrick, which seats 80 to 90 guests. “At lunch and dinner combined, we sell about 60 orders.”
Avocado Panna Cotta at Fabrick; $16
Moving on to mains, using Fabrick’s pizza oven, Langille is working on a secret pizza menu that will be revealed via social media. One idea he’s developing—a shareable Flying Hawaiian Pizza with pickled pineapple and candied bacon.