Jason Santos’s first cookbook is a collection of Buttermilk & Bourbon’s greatest hits

It's on shelves now.

Jason Santos
Jason Santos –NIcole Russo Communications

Jason Santos will tell you he is “not a writer.” It’s an ironic sentiment for a newly-minted cookbook author, but the executive chef and owner of Abby Lane, Buttermilk & Bourbon, and Citrus & Salt said he “never really wanted” to write one.

“It was more like I felt like I needed to have a cookbook,” Santos elaborated. “I’d had some opportunities in the past; I just wasn’t ready.”

A book based off of his passion project, however, felt right. “Buttermilk & Bourbon: New Orleans Recipes with a Modern Flair” debuted on March 26. The 192-page project shares a name with his Southern-inspired restaurant on Commonwealth Avenue, an idea that originated when his wife took him to New Orleans for the first time four or five years ago.

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“We went and we ate and ate and ate and ate. I literally fell in love with the city,” Santos remembered. “I just loved everything, from the food to the hospitality.”

He’s been whipping up bites inspired by that trip — and subsequent returns — since the restaurant’s opening two years ago, and said the book features some of its “greatest hits.”

The cover of “Buttermilk & Bourbon.” —Nicole Russo Communications

Across 11 chapters, the “Buttermilk & Bourbon” covers brunch, comfort foods, sweets, and more. A cocktail chapter provides steps to create a “Cajun Bloody Mary,” as well as a ginger bourbon concoction with honey-strawberry syrup called a “Garden District.” Recipes for barbecue shrimp with jalapeno grits and Flamin’ Hot Cheeto mac and cheese are also included, as well as “Literally the Best Fried Chicken Wings in the History of Chicken.”

“I think plenty of chefs make food that they hope is the best, but realistically we all know there’s probably some fried chicken somewhere that’s way better,” Santos said.

But in the case of his honey-glazed biscuits (also featured in the cookbook), it’s a different story.

“The biscuits are something that I worked on for, like, a year. I mean, every day I made another batch and adjusted the recipe to what I thought was the best biscuit I’ve ever had,” he said. “I’ve never had a better biscuit in my life. I look forward to having one better than mine, because I’m going to start over if that’s the case.”

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And for home cooks tentative about mixing and sauteing their way through the restaurant’s recipes, Santos assures that the dishes can be easily created at home.

“What I like about the book is it’s not too conservative, not too chef-driven,” he said. “It’s simple food — it’s fried chicken; it’s biscuits — but it’s done in an artistic way to give you that restaurant quality.”

“Buttermilk & Bourbon” is available to order from Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, and Walmart.

To try your hand at a Southern-fused Santos recipe, you can attempt the one provided below. It makes four servings of fried chicken with refried red beans, shaved mushroom salad, and white barbecue sauce.

 

Signature Fried Chicken
with Refried Red Beans, Shaved Mushroom Salad, and White Barbecue Sauce
serves 4

Buttermilk & Bourbon fried chicken. —Nicole Russo Communications

Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:

8 each boneless and skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons hot sauce (Frank’s or Crystal)

2 teaspoons Cajun spice

Canola oil for frying

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: 

Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, and Cajun spice and pour over chicken thighs. Marinade for a minimum of four hours, but best overnight. Once ready, remove chicken from marinade and toss in fry dredge (see below) until completely coated. In either a medium size pot or a cast iron pan, heat canola oil to 350 degrees Farenheit. Carefully add chicken to the oil and cook for 10-12 minutes. When done, remove chicken from oil and season. Place atop refried red beans (see below), top with mushroom salad (see below), and drizzle with white barbecue sauce (see below).

 

Fry Dredge

Ingredients:

2 cups masa harina flour

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2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons lemon pepper

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon Zatarin’s seasoning

1 teaspoon black pepper, ground

½ teaspoon chile flakes

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

Mix well

 

Refried Red Beans

Ingredients:

1 cup Spanish onion, diced

2 tablespoon garlic, minced

½ cup lard

1 teaspoon Cajun spice

two 15-ounce cans red beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion and garlic in lard until soft, then add red beans and Cajun spice and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove half of mixture and puree, and then fold it back in with the green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Shaved Mushroom Salad

Ingredients:

8 each cremini mushrooms, shaved on a mandolin or sliced very thin

2 each radishes, shaved on a mandolin or sliced very thin

¼ cup parsley leaves

¼ cup chive batons

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons vinaigrette

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Mix and season with salt and pepper

 

White BBQ Sauce

Ingredients: 

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon coarse grind black pepper

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon cumin, ground

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Mix