Downtown Sacramento dining establishments are recognized for farm-to-fork cooking, with Sacramento recently being named farm-to-fork capital of America. The Almond Board of California was in town for its 40th annual conference this week, and we're sharing recipes for a three-course meal with almonds from local chefs.
Sacramento is a hot destination for food travel and tourism, but Oliver Ridgeway of Grange, Adam Pechal of Restaurant Thir13en and Tuli Bistro, and Michael Thiemann of Ella Dining Room & Bar took the time to share some of their creations so you can sample our local flavor at home.
This three-course meal is perfect altogether, and each dish stands on its own to accompany your favorites.
Roast Carrot & Almond Salad with Brown Butter Vinaigrette
- Chef Oliver Ridgeway of Grange, 926 J St., Sacramento.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp smoked sweet paprika
1 Tbsp ground fennel
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 thyme sprigs
1 pound baby carrots, halved lengthwise and tops trimmed to 1 inch
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp of good sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp water
5 ounces baby arugula
5 ounces toasted slivered California almonds
In a bowl, combine the olive oil, paprika, fennel, coriander, garlic and thyme. Add the carrots and let stand for 2 hours.
Preheat a grill for direct cooking. Remove the carrots from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning, until crisp-tender, 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until lightly browned and nutty-smelling, shaking the pan gently, about 5 minutes.
Scrape the butter and solids into a medium-sized bowl. Add the vinegar and water; whisk until blended. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Add the vinaigrette and arugula to the carrots; toss to coat. Transfer the salad to plates. Divide and sprinkle the toasted almonds over the salads. Serve.
Almond Crusted Barramundi with Parsnip Puree Persimmons and Pomegranate Gastrique
4 6oz Filets of Barramundi or other meaty white fish
12oz whole Blanched Almond, lightly toasted and crushed
2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cut into wedges
4c Parsnips, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 1/2c whole milk
1ea Pomegranate, seeded
1c champagne vinegar
1. In a small sauce pot cover parsnips with the milk, add the whole garlic cloves and simmer until parsnips are tender. Purée parsnips and garlic in a food processor adding most of the milk until mixture is smooth and of proper consistency. Season with salt.
2. Combine pomegranate seeds, sugar and vinegar and simmer until mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency. Cool and reserve.
3. Sauté persimmons in butter, add honey and cook until persimmons are tender and lightly caramelized.
4. Season fish with salt and pepper. Press almonds onto fish and place into a hot sauté pan nuts down. Sauté over medium high heat until nuts turn gold brown. Carefully flip filets over and cook until fish is cooked through, 3-5 minutes.
5. Assemble the plate to your culinary stylings.
- Chef Michael Thiemann of Ella Dining Room & Bar, 1131 K St., Sacramento.
225ml Egg whites
1 ½ C Superfine sugar
1 ½ tsp White vinegar, plus extra for bowl cleaning
1 tsp Almond extract
1 ea Vanilla bean seeds scraped
Preheat oven to 300*F. Clean bowl with small amount of vinegar and wipe clean. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Add sugar 1 T at a time letting whip for 30 seconds before adding the next T. Once all sugar is added, scrape down sides, add vinegar, almond extract, and vanilla bean seeds. Whip for another 5 minutes. Pipe onto sheet trays. Place in oven with low fan. Drop temp to 250*F. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
This can be topped with seasonal fruit and whipped cream.
Look for more Sacramento food in the coming year as the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau prepares to host the inaugural Farm-to-Fork Festival in September 2013.