Haute Dogs: Hot Cuisine!

Right up front, I must admit I love hot dogs. There. I've said it. You may now un-friend me or ban me from the culinary community, but I have to be true to myself...

Also, I need to tell you that this post is a cookbook review, having received a copy of Haute Dogs, by Russell Van Kraayenburg, from Quirk Books. It will hit the bookshops next week - and, if you like hot dogs [spoiler alert], this book contains recipes for Chicago, Coney Island, Texas and Michigan Dogs, as well as modern concoctions such as The Danger, Vegan, Spicy Thai and Swedish Shrimp Dogs.

The book contains pretty much every regional dog recipe (47 hot dog recipes, in all), although we (in Tucson) are sad he didn't include our distinctive and incredible Sonoran Hot Dog. {insert sad face here...} Maybe it wasn't an oversight? Maybe he has a plan? Maybe there will be a sequel? Son of Haute Dogs?

When I was young, hot dogs meant I was headed to a baseball or football game with my father. To his dismay, I found the hot dogs more interesting than the games, although I really do like baseball.

Additional to game days, hot dogs stir fond memories of family barbecues, surviving on my own after college, and lunch breaks from my day jobs at the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the New York State Museum.

These days, if I am eating hot dogs, it means I am in IKEA and need a quick and cheap dinner after a long (and theoretically cheap) shopping excursion. Who can argue with 2 dogs for $1?

For today, though, let's head back to my lunch breaks in Upstate New York. Albany had quite a few lunch vendors on its downtown streets, selling soft pretzels, submarine sandwiches, gyros, or ice cream. I ignored all those and always went to Cathy's cart for a New York Dog.

The funny thing is, I didn't even know that a New York Style Dog was a 'thing' until I got this book. I just assumed that is what Cathy called them, as I had never had another like it.

A New York Style Dog is a griddled/pan-fried/steamed all-beef dog, served with onion sauce, spicy brown mustard, and sauerkraut on a bun. I usually had my dog with just the onion sauce. After several years of my whining and cajoling, Cathy finally told me how she made her onion sauce. The saddest admission in this post is that I lost the notes I took that day.

The happiest part of this post, is that Haute Dogs contains a recipe for onion sauce just like Cathy's!

In addition to these really great regional recipes, Haute Dogs also includes recipes for homemade hot dogs themselves (not sure I have the fortitude for that!), buns and lots of great condiments in addition to the onion sauce.

Do you have finicky kids (or adults) who only eat hot dogs? This might be just the book to expand their culinary world, with its fascinating and diverse array of offerings of this humble favorite. Heck, it might expand yours, too. It sure did mine!

Play ball!

~ David

My apologies to the NY Yankees. Love your dogs, but will always be a Red Sox fan!
New York Style Hot Dog
Minimally adapted from Haute Dogs

New York Style Sautéed Onions

Classic buns
All-beef hot dogs (I used locally made dogs from Double Check Ranch)
Spicy brown mustard
Sauerkraut (from High Energy Agriculture)

Make the onion sauce (recipe follow).

Split open a classic bun. Panfry an all-beef to dog on a flattop (griddle); during the last minute of cooking, lightly toast the bun by placing it on the dry side of the flattop. Place the hot dog on the bun. Add a slathering of spicy brown mustard to the dog. Top with a handful each of sauerkraut ad sautéed onions.

New York Style Sautéed Onions

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large white onions, thinly sliced (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions with tomato paste and spices, stirring, until soft, translucent, and starting to brown on the edges, about 10-15 minutes. You may need a tablespoon or two of water to keep them from getting too dry. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator of up to 3 days.

Makes about 2 cups. 

Disclaimer: While I was sent a review copy from the publishert, my opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. 


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