Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A little bit of Persia in an Italian restaurant......
Well in this kitchen I have the foods of the world at my finger tips. A Turkish Bar tender(Zafir) who gave me the recipe for Turkish meat balls and yogurt. Or the adorable server Flower from Egypt but grew up in Brazil who makes the meanest Hummus around. The Italian bus boy who eats but is useless otherwise. Jalisco, Micheuacan, Sonora, Mexico City is all represented in the kitchen and staff lunch represents from Caldos to blk Chili Pollo stew. ohhh and Ruchi the book keeper from India with all her colorful vegetarian recipes from her Mothers book of kitchen tricks....Sigh I'm in heaven.
Ohh back to why I'm writing this diddy. The owners are an amazing Mediterranean mix of Italian and Iranian. Hmmmm love it. I posted this picture of my baby grape cluster up here on the Ghetto Vineyard and Carolyn let me know there is a phenomenal Persian Stew that uses un ripened grapes. REALLY.......off I went to pour over the web, books and picked the Persians brain and after a few trials n errors here is a classic KORESHT-E BADENJAN egg plant stew with un ripe grapes. I tweaked the various recipes and came up with this gem...hope you enjoy.
Egg Plant Stew
5T cold press Kalamata olive oil
3lbs any egg plant ,I'm digging the Asian white little bombs. Slice in strips and salt both sides to leach
1 large yellow onion diced not too small you want the texture.
12 oz of loin, leg or Butt(shoulder) of Lamb. Cube.
1t. Ground turmeric, fenegreek,mustard seed and fresh coriander
2T tomato paste
2 ripe in season tomatoes seeded and diced
3 C of veggie stock(of course home made)
1/2 C un ripe grapes( no one will say if a particular varietal is in order say Shiraz?origin would be correct)
Zest and juice of one lemon.
Sea salt n white pepper to taste
Ok let's go...
Sweat the onions with half the olive oil and herbs . Put aside.
Brown the lamb.
Pat the salted egg plant to remove the excess moisture and brown in the pan the onions were sweated to pick up the rich pan flavours left behind from the onion spice blend.
Now pull out your big soup pot reserved for this very chore and toss everyone in the pool. Remove the baby grapes from the stems and no need to worry about pips the young grape should not have the pip at this stage.
Simmer till all the flavours have meshed and the lamb is cooked through.
Savory, sour and filling. A dollop of cultured cream(sour cream,creme fraiche , yogurt etc...) A zest of lemon, Batsmati rice with a pinch of Saffron and a pile of warm Naan bread. Voila a little Persia in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountain wine region.
Thank you Carolyn and Jalil for having faith and love for me and my little Jam co. I couldn't do this with out your support and kitchen time.
Thank you Beto, Ricky,Jose, Manny, Isreal, and the rest of you boys in the kitchen who have made me feel like family and sharing your recipes, stories and camaraderie. I so love my Tuesdays with all of you.
Big respect for my kitchen family you work so hard for beauty with so little recognition.
Next time you have a rocking meal out ....try to give a tip to the kitchen . It will mean the world to them that you realize the hard thankless work happening behind the scenes.
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