Stuck inside on a snowy day in Newbury, miserably sick, and completely alone save two cats and whatever dwelt in the Neolithic Celtic cemetery located in my backyard (true story), I found myself in desperate need of some San Franciscan cooking. Nothing quite keeps unfriendly spirits away like gratuitous amounts of avocado. I took stock of my borrowed kitchen, and set about re-creating a lunch meal easily available at any of the many French style cafes across SF. For this meal, I paid special homage to Zazie’s, with their croque madames and rosemary garlic roasted potatoes.
Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes: 2 servings/ 4-6 gold potatoes – medium sized/ 4-6 cloves of garlic/ olive oil/ fresh or dried rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Cut potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size.
Add potatoes to a roasting pan with garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover pan with aluminium or a lid, and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, lower oven to 400 F, and remove cover. Roast for another 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and add fresh or dried rosemary. If fresh, add twice as much as you would dried, which are more potent. Fresh is better for this recipe, because the dried herbs can get brittle in the oven.
Roast for another 15 minutes, or until dark and crispy on the outside.
San Francisco Sandwich: 2 servings/ 2 slices of bread (preferably sourdough)/2 eggs & 2 strips of bacon (omit as necessary)/1 avocado/1 tomato/humus of choice/cheddar cheese
This open faced sandwich features all the classic California ingredients, with fresh tomatoes, avocados, and organic bacon. And once you’ve gone that far, might as well add a free range fried egg on top. YOLO.
You’ll find this served over a slice of sweet or sour batard, probably from Acme or Tartine, but go for whatever bread will make you smile. Make this sandwich your own. While making your bread selection, and slicing the vegetables, throw some hormone-and-preservative-free-rashers into a skillet and let those fry away. Or whatever bacon you can get. To switch things up with some East Bay flavor, go with vegan bacon, and omit cheese and eggs.
Once you’ve selected and sliced your bread, smother one side in humus of choice. I prefer spicy or red pepper humus to add a kick. Add half the avocado to each sandwich, sliced tomatoes, bacon, and sliced cheddar cheese (or anything from Cowgirl Creamery to really be authentic). Place sandwiches under the broiler for a few minutes for the cheese to get gooey while you fry two eggs.
For the final touch I whipped up some of the ubiquitous greens you’ll always find on the side of any plate in the city. While SF greens are usually just that — dressed leaves of baby romaine or spinach – there’s no need to limit yourself in your own kitchen. I spruced my greens up with red onion slices, and for the dressing I mixed together a simple vinegrette of a few glugs of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Enjoy this San Francisco twist on a French plate with a mug of freshly brewed Blue Bottle coffee, or, for the more daring, a St. George Terroir Martini:
2 oz gin
1/4 oz Dolan vermouth blanc
Shake over ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
(I may or may not be utilizing my temporary address for some international purchases…)