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Desert Companion

Eat this now: Pecan pie and Paneer shaslik

Pecan pie at Delmonico’s

Pecan Pie with Oatmeal Shortbread Crust and French Vanilla

Pastry Chef Stephanie Nikolic tells us the origins of Delmonico’s recipe for this Southern dessert staple are unknown, but it’s so popular, “it comes with the restaurant and no one would dream of taking it off the menu.” One bite past the crackling crust, bursting with pecan, butter, egg and sugar goodness and you will taste why. Nikolic says baking the individual pies in “old-fashioned, buttered, cast-iron pans” makes all the difference, giving it a “comfort food, homemade feel.” True enough, but we think topping it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, alongside some silky whipped cream, atop a perfect, sticky-sweet caramel sauce, is pure Big Easy.

DELMONICO’S Inside the Venetian, 414-3737

Paneer shaslik at Namaste

After going through several ownership changes, Namaste has gotten back to the superb Indian food that put it on every foodie’s map two years ago. This highly spiced vegetarian dish consists of skewered (shaslik) grilled farmer’s cheese (paneer) atop shredded cabbage on a sizzling platter — the whole then bathed in a capsaicin, tomato and onion concoction of soul-warming intensity. On a menu full of Goan and Portuguese-Indian peppery delights, this is first among equals. Order it any hotter than medium and you’ll need a fire hose to cool your mouth down.

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NAMASTE 953 E. Sahara Ave., 892-9695

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