Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Give It Up For Nopalito’s Tacos De Pescado Al Pastor

Fish tacos with a rich adobo marinade -- from Nopalito's new cookbook.

Fish tacos with a rich adobo marinade — from Nopalito’s new cookbook.

 

Not to interject too much politics here, but I had to laugh last year when a political supporter tried to inflame anti-immigrant fervor by decrying that if this country didn’t take measures, we’d end up with a taco truck on every corner.

We should be so lucky.

In fact, if we had a Nopalito in every neighborhood, we’d be quite fortunate, indeed.

The beloved San Francisco restaurant is headed by Executive Chef-Partner Gonzalo Guzman. Born in Veracruz, Mexico, he came to the United States as a child. His first restaurant job was as a dishwasher at Kokkari in San Francisco. He soon rose through the culinary ranks there, as well as at San Francisco’s Boulevard, Chez Nous, and Nopa.

In 2009, he partnered with Nopa owners Laurence and Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak to open Nopalito on Broderick Street. It was so successful, it led to a second Nopalito location on Ninth Avenue, near Golden Gate Park.

Just one taste, and you know why the restaurant has such a devoted following. This is food that is vivacious, with flavors that are punchy and complex, yet also clear and true.

NopalitoBook

Even if you don’t live near Nopalito, you can now enjoy a taste of its craveable dishes in the new cookbook, “Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen” (Ten Speed Press) by Guzman with food journalist Stacy Adimando.

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Scooping Up Charred Broccoli with Tonnato, Pecorino, Lemon, and Chiles

Broccoli gets a punchy-good companion.

Broccoli gets a punchy-good companion.

 

Imagine your favorite tuna salad sandwich — but in creamy, thick dip form.

That’s the beauty of the Italian classic of tonnato, made with good-quality, oil-packed tuna whizzed in a food processor until smooth with olive oil, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.

It’s traditionally served with cold veal that’s been braised or simmered. You might think the combination of tuna sauce and meat a strange one. But it’s actually an inspired marriage that’s proved a happy coupling for generations. It’s like how opposites attract: a mild-mannered tasting veal gets brought to the foreground by the exploits of its more exuberant, brash, salty-sassy sauce.

But tonnato can go with so much more, as Chef Joshua McFadden shows in his new cookbook, “Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy. McFadden, owner of Ava Gene’s restaurant in Portland, OR; wrote the cookbook with Martha Holmberg, CEO of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

SixSeasons

The book delves deeper into the seasons so that you learn what’s best not just in spring, summer, fall, and winter but during the in-between times as one season starts to disappear into another.

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How to Make Alexander’s Steakhouse’s Sensational Uni Fried Rice

An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!

An unforgettable fried rice that I can now make at home. Woot!

 

Fried rice is typically a frugal dish, something you slap together at the last minute with meager ingredients on hand.

This is not that fried rice.

Not when it is enveloped in whipped uni butter, and crowned with fresh uni.

And certainly not when it is on the menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino for $25.

When Food Gal reader Kristy implored me recently to get the recipe for the uni fried rice after falling for it at Alexander’s, I could commiserate.

After all, I had enjoyed it at the restaurant only once — and I still dream about it. It’s that kind of dish — loaded with bold flavors that grabs you from the get-go with its uncanny mix of comfort and luxuriousness.

Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.

Fresh uni, plus a range of textures in every bite.

Executive Chef Jared Montarbo was kind enough to actually provide the recipe. As chefs are wont to do, there weren’t precise measurements for every single ingredient, so I tinkered a little. After making it at home recently, I can tell you confidently that his recipe does indeed make for a fried rice dish just about as delicious as the one he makes at the restaurant.

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Indian Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin

Corn with cumin -- as simple as it gets.

Corn with cumin — as simple as it gets.

 

Most times, I enjoy summer corn right off the cob that’s been charred on the grill or even nuked in the microwave for a few minutes.

But other times, I want something a little less basic.

That’s where “Stir-Fried Corn with Basil, Leeks and Cumin” comes in.

It’s from the new “Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn” (Ten Speed Press) by Chitra Agrawal, chef-owner of the cleverly named Brooklyn Delhi line of condiments.

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Melissa Clark’s Peachy Pork

One-pan magic that makes the most of summer peaches.

One-pan magic that makes the most of summer peaches.

 

Every summer, I turn fruity.

As in batty for plums, pluots, peaches, nectarines cherries, strawberries, blueberries, figs and the like.

So much so that I practically have to restrain myself from buying a few of everything that I see at the farmers market, lest I end up with a load of fruit at the end of the week, when I am ready to set out to the market again on my regular weekend jaunt.

Just last Saturday, my favorite strawberry vendor asked me pointedly, “Do you really go through this many strawberries every week?” as I bought my usual three baskets from him.

Why, yes, I do. I really, really do.

Hey, it could be worse. At least he didn’t ask, “Do you really go through five buckets of chicken every week?”

Instead, I’m proud to be fruity to the core. Most of my haul is enjoyed as is — out of hand or topped with Greek yogurt or tossed into salads. Some get baked into sweet treats such as galettes, muffins or financiers. And every now and then, some actually end up in something savory.

Like “Peachy Pork or Veal with Pomegranate Molasses and Charred Onion.”

DinnerChangingTheGame

The recipe is from “Dinner: Changing the Game” (Clarkson Potter), the newest cookbook by Melissa Clark, of which I received a review copy.

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