Home » World Eats: Recipes from Sonoma County, California

World Eats: Recipes from Sonoma County, California

by Rich Rubin
BBK Cioppino | Best Restaurants Sonoma County California

Here are five of our Traveling Gourmet’s Favorites Recipes from Sonoma County!  Try Them at home for a taste of wine country any time!

BRK Cioppino
(recipe serves 6-8)

Cioppino Base – Ingredients
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
4 qts San Marzano canned whole peeled tomatoes, blended
2 cups clam juice
1 cup white wine
1 medium to large carrot, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1/2 white onion, diced small
3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1/2 bunch basil, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 Tablespoon Fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoon  fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/8 cup green olives, finely chopped
1/8 cup capers, finely chopped
1/4 cup canned piquillo peppers, diced small
Salt and pepper to taste

Seafood – Ingredients
12 fresh, whole clams, in-shell
12 fresh, whole mussels, in-shell
1/2 lb calamari rings and tentacles
1/2 lb Dungeness crab meat or 1 whole cooked crab
1/2 lb King salmon, diced into small pieces
12 jumbo prawns
1/4 cup butter
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Cioppino – Method
Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large stock pot. Add carrots, celery, onion, thyme and oregano, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about five minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

Next, add the white wine and cook for an additional five minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients (excluding seafood), bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer for about one hour. **Do not add any of the seafood – or any of the ingredients listed under seafood – yet!

Once the cioppino base has finished cooking, add the vegetable stock, clams, mussels, salmon, and prawns. Cook until the mussels and clams start to open, then add butter, Dungeness crab meat, and calamari.

Make sure that all of the seafood is cooked through, then portion the mixture into individual bowls for serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

*Optional: You can also serve with some fresh garlic bread, or garnish with some grilled lemon or a drizzle of nice extra virgin olive oil.

Moroccan Carrots Recipe | Best Restaurants Sonoma County California

Chef Crista Luedtke’s Moroccan Carrots with Smoked Yogurt and Toasted Seeds

2 dry guajillo chilies, deseeded + roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
5 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 tablespoon salt, more to taste
1 scant cup olive oil

1 pint whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
Smoking gun with hose and wood chips, loaded per device instructions

2 bunches (about 12-16) heirloom baby carrots, cleaned or peeled and tops trimmed to 3/4 inch
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a dry pan over medium-high heat, toast deseeded chilies until aromatic, stirring constantly, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cumin and coriander seeds to pan, also toasting until aromatic for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and combine with chilies and all other sauce ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor. Pulse dry ingredients a few times to chop, then drizzle in olive oil while blender or processor is running on medium to low speed. When combined and blended to a smooth consistency, remove sauce to an airtight container. Sauce can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Makes approximately 2 cups.

If possible, let the yogurt drain out overnight by hanging it in strainer lined with cheese cloth over a bowl. This will make for an even thicker and luxurious texture to your yogurt. It’s worth it. Salt the yogurt with 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste. It should have a nice flavor and be a little less tart. Place yogurt in a stainless steel mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Tuck hose of smoking gun under the plastic wrap and light the wood chips, per your device’s instructions. Once smoke has filled the bowl, turn off gun and let sit for about 10min, repeat the smoking process one more time leaving the bowl covered again for additional 10 min. This should infuse a nice smokey flavor. This process can be done in advance and, if you have time, drain the yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. This will thicken the yogurt and result in a more luxurious texture.

I like to use a mix of black and white sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Toast seeds in dry sauté pan over medium heat until golden. In a food processor or spice grinder, gently pulse seeds a time or two to get them a bit broken up. If you do not have a processor simply put into a re-sealable bag and smash with a meat tenderizer. In a bowl season with a sprinkling of kosher salt and a touch of olive oil so the salt sticks. Set aside until ready to use.

Clean heirloom baby carrots (peel if needed) leaving ¾ inch of the green stem on the ends. Blanch carrots starting in cold water with a generous amount of salt, bring to a boil. Immediately, shock the carrots by placing them in an ice bath directly from boiling water. Remove from ice water when cool and pat dry, or store in the refrigerator if you are prepping them ahead.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and sear until you get a bit of color on them. Add a few tablespoons of the Moroccan sauce to coat all carrots. Add more sauce and salt to taste, turn off pan, and set aside. Using a large spoon, spread a generous amount of your smoked yogurt on the serving platter. Arrange carrots on the platter on top of yogurt sauce, garnish with toasted seeds and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Heirloon Tomato Salad | Best Restaurants Sonoma County California

Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad
Serves 6
This is one of the most popular menu items at the girl & the fig. You don’t normally think of pairing tomatoes with watermelon, but peak tomato season is usually the same for watermelon. The two fruits are somewhat similar in texture and color, as well. The watermelon’s sugar content, though higher than a tomato’s, ties the two fruits together. The addition of the salty sheep’s milk feta and a sprinkling of sea salt create a nice contrast to the sweetness of the salad. We use fresh oregano as the main herbal flavor, but it would be just as good with fresh basil or thyme.

For the vinaigrette:
1 medium yellow tomato, blanched, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste

For the salad:
½ cup feta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, sliced into ½ x 2-inch rounds
2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, for garnish
Sea salt, for garnish

To prepare the vinaigrette:
Place the yellow tomato in a blender. On medium speed add the mustard and then the vinegar. Slowly add ½ cup of olive oil. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as needed and set aside.

In a separate bowl, crumble the feta and mix it with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

To serve:
Divide the heirloom tomato slices and the watermelon slices equally among 6 plates. When plating, alternate the slices and garnish with a bit of feta. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each portion and garnish with the oregano leaves. Add a touch of sea salt to the salad if desired.

Tacos Recipe | Best Restaurants Sonoma County California

Lengua Tacos
An entire lengua (beef tongue), about 5 pounds
5 bay leaves
1 peeled yellow onion
10 garlic cloves 3 Tbs. salt
8 quarts water

For the tomatillo salsa:
3 pounds peeled tomatillos
1 yellow onion
12 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
5 serrano chiles
5 leaves cilantro
5 quarts water

1. In a big pot, add water, bay leaves, peeled yellow onion, garlic, and salt. Warm up pot at medium heat.
2. Rinse the tongue and make sure to use a sharp knife to make holes all around. Put it inside the pot.
3. Let it cook for 5-6 hours, checking every 30 minutes to added water if needed. Once it has cooked 5 hours, check to see if the skin comes off easily. If it does, it is done. If not, cook for another hour.
4. Take the skin and fat off and chop completely into small pieces.

For the tomatillo salsa:
1. Rinse all the ingredients.
2. In a medium-sized pot, add all the ingredients except the chicken bouillon and cilantro. Let it cook for about 10 minutes and drain.
3. Blend all the ingredients and add cilantro and bouillon.

Serve the tongue on a tortilla, adding chopped onion, cilantro, and lime to the plate. Serve the salsa in its own dish alongside.

Lamb Chops Recipe | Best Restaurants Sonoma County California

Willi’s Wine Bar’s Moroccan Style Lamb Chops with Mint Chutney & Preserved Lemon Couscous Salad

Chef Mark Stark

Serves ~ 15
1 cup mint leaves
6 each scallion, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 each garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil

Serves ~ 15
1 1/4 cups honey
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 each cinnamon stick, broken up
2 each star anise
2 each garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Serves ~ 10
2 cups couscous
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
½ preserved lemon, cleaned, and minced*
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 bunch scallion, sliced

For the marinade:
Place all mint chutney ingredients in a blender with the olive oil and puree until smooth Toss the lamb chops with just enough mint chutney to coat and marinate for four hours or overnight. Save the remainder of the mint chutney to use later.

For the Moroccan BBQ Sauce:
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer on medium heat until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of a light glaze. Strain and cool.

For the Preserved Lemon Couscous Salad:
Place dry couscous in a bowl. Add olive oil and mix until couscous it is coated with oil. Bring the orange juice and the water to a boil. Season the liquid with salt and pepper. Pour the hot liquid over the couscous and add the raisins and preserved lemon, Stir once. cover with plastic wrap and let sit until all the liquid is absorbed by the couscous. Remove the plastic and fluff the couscous. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

To finish the dish:
Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and grill to desired doneness over a medium hot grill or sear them in a hot pan on both sides and finish in a 350°oven. While the chops are cooking, toss the toasted almonds and sliced scallions into the couscous, add a little fresh orange juice and more extra virgin olive oil to the salad if it seems dry. Place the couscous salad in the center of a serving platter. Arrange the chops around the couscous and drizzle with the Moroccan BBQ sauce and the remainder of the mint chutney Any leftover BBQ sauce may be kept in the refrigerator for 1 month.

*Preserved lemons may be purchased at specialty grocers or make your own. They’re easy but take 2-3 weeks to cure, so plan ahead!

Find These Sonoma Restaurant Reviews right HERE.


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