Currently featured on the seasonal, rotating menu are a white mushroom salad and a plate of hush puppies with herb-laden labneh, honey, and sumac.
What do New Orleans and San Antonio have in common? This year marks each city’s tricentennial. They are American culinary capitals — and not just for their regional specialties. New Orleans and San Antonio cuisines are more than po’boys and puffy tacos, although, I’ve got to admit, the mere thought of them is as powerful as two cups of cold brew. The cities also share John Russ, a New Orleans native who now calls San Antonio home and is the chef and co-owner (alongside his wife, Elise Russ, who is also the pastry chef) of newly opened Clementine restaurant.
Russ has rooted Clementine in a seasonal, rotating menu that currently features a white mushroom salad, a Russ family favorite, and a plate of hush puppies with herb-laden labneh, honey, and sumac. There are plenty of familiar Texas dishes given bold turns, including fried ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms with anchovies and capers and Bandera quail with summer greens, Chinese eggplant, and garden peppers. Russ shares two Clementine recipes.
White Mushroom Salad
8 ounces fresh white button mushrooms, sliced as thin as you can manage
4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces lemon juice, fresh squeezed, preferably Meyer lemon
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
½ red onion, sliced as thin as you can manage
2 small red radishes, sliced as thin as you can manage
2 lemons cut into segments, minus the skin and pith
1 pomegranate, jewels only
3 ounces pecorino cheese, parmesan can substitute, shaved with a peeler
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the cheese, toss gently. Shave the cheese over the top of the tossed salad prior to serving.
1 tablespoon sambal
½ cup buttermilk, more if needed
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup chickpea flour
1 cup cooked split chickpeas (if canned, rough chop is a good substitute)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more, to taste)
1 small onion, minced
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 quarts oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil
Mix all of the wet ingredients and all of the dry ingredients separately, then mix the wet and the dry together. Form into balls.
Fry at 350 degrees until golden brown. Should be just a few minutes. Remove from fryer and season with salt.
2 cups labneh
3 tablespoons minced parsley
3 tablespoons minced mint
3 tablespoons minced dill
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño, habanero, or Thai bird chiles
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon coffee grinds
2 lemons, zested
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Season with salt. (Chef’s note: The dish holds exceedingly well for a couple of days. The coffee and sumac will change the color if held for more than a day, but it’s still beautiful.)
For plating: Dab about two tablespoons of the Labneh spread on a plate. Top with a mound of fresh fried hush puppies. Drizzle with some honey.
For more information on Clementine or to make reservations, visit the restaurant’s website. All images courtesy Clementine.
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