When people ask me who the greatest chef in the Bay Area is, it is always a loaded question. Clearly there is an incredible amount of culinary talent, from the foundational Alice Waters to the cutting edge Daniel Patterson to the mainstays Michael Minna and Gary Danko; however, my answer is immediate and unwavering – Stuart Brioza. There are few chefs working anywhere in the world as passionate about ingredients (ask him about hearts of palm from his guy in Hawaii), as driven about creativity while maintaining the integrity of those ingredients, and, perhaps most importantly, as ardent in his pursuit of pairing the perfect wine with each dish.
We are incredibly excited about the upcoming opening of his new restaurant State Bird Provisions on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Think dim sum with an upscale twist, and every bite distinctive and near perfection.
In thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the sharp shift towards fall ingredients, we asked Stuart for his thoughts on a great autumnal dish that would work well with our 2008 Perseid. We hope you enjoy!
Roasted Aromatic Rack of Lamb
Lamb & Pork Sausage Fried Farro & Grapes
From the Kitchen of Stuart Brioza & ‘State Bird Provisions’
For Meteor Vineyard
For the Marinade
1 each Rack of Lamb
2 ounces each of: Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Honey, Red Wine
1 teaspoon Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Toasted Fennel Seed, crushed in a mortar
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1” chunk Ginger, minced
As needed Salt & Pepper
Lamb & Pork Sausage
8 ounces Lamb Leg Meat
4 ounces Pork Shoulder Meat
2 ounces Pork Fat Back
1 ounce Red Wine
2 tsp each of Salt, Chili Flakes, Toasted Cumin Seed
½ Pound Fresh Lamb & Pork Sausage
1 cup Fennel, small dice
½ cup Onion, small dice
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 large branch Rosemary
2 Tablespoons Whole Butter
2 cups Cooked Farro
As needed Salt & Pepper
1 pound Small Red Grape Clusters
As needed Smoked Sea Salt
For the Lamb Pre-Heat an oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Evenly disperse the marinade for the lamb with all of the above ingredients for up to 24 hours. Remove lamb from the marinade (reserve excess) & season well with salt & pepper for about 20 minutes prior to roasting. Roast with the fat side up for about 20-30 minutes basting with the remainder of the marinade. Roast the grape clusters in the lamb pan renderings for about the last five minutes of cooking the rack. Remove lamb & grapes from the oven and rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing & serving.
For the Lamb & Pork Sausage Dice each of the meats in approximately 1” cubes, keep all the meats very cold & season with the red wine & seasonings. This can marinate up to 24 hours. Separate the meat into 2 batches. Grind the first batch through a Kitchen Aide meat grinder into the bowl using the largest dye & follow with the second batch through the smallest dye. Remove the grinder attachment & use the paddle attachment to whip the meat for about 15 seconds. The sausage meat should feel tacky to the touch.
For the Farro In a large sauté pan, place the butter, crushed garlic & rosemary branch in the pan and turn the heat on high. When the butter begins to brown, the pan will be hot, and the rosemary aromatic. Add the sausage, diced fennel & onion together, render & brown the sausage crushing as you go. When the sausage is cooked and starts caramelizing on the bottom of the pan add the cooked farro, and fry as you would to fry rice. Brown and toast the farro for a few minutes on high heat stirring continuously until nutty! Season as needed.
To Plate On a large platter, set the fried farro as a base, place the lamb chops & grapes on top & drizzle over the reserved pan juices. Sprinkle a bit of smoked sea salt over the meat & serve.