Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski give readers a closer look into the best-selling dishes from their acclaimed San Francisco restaurant in State Bird Provisions.
Often it just seems like we’re creating something new at State Bird when, on closer inspection, we’re simply tweaking time-honored flavor combinations. This preparation is a great example: it’s essentially a reimagining of trout à la grenobloise, one of my favorite French fish dishes. The ingredients might be altered but the fundamental elements that make the dish such a pleasure remain intact. Instead of capers, lemon segments, and parsley tossed with brown butter, the salty element comes from spiced fish sauce, the citrus is sweet-tart mandarins, and the herbs are cilantro and mint. Slivers of ginger underscore the Asian orientation. Hazelnuts add texture and nod to the almonds in the similar (and similarly tasty) preparation à la almandine. Respecting tradition is what allows us to successfully break with it.
- Grind the jasmine rice to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Pour the rice powder through a fine-mesh sieve into a small skillet, set over medium-high heat, and cook, shaking and tossing constantly, until the rice powder is very aromatic and just begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
- Melt the butter in a small light-colored skillet over medium-low heat. Let it froth and bubble, occasionally stirring and pushing the froth aside to check on the color, until the butter turns a caramel hue, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
- Pat the fillets dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. One by one, add the fillets, skin side down, to the rice powder, pressing lightly to help the rice powder adhere.
- Warm the grapeseed oil in a heavy skillet (wide enough to hold the fillets with room to spare) over high heat until you see wisps of smoke. Add the fillets, skin side down, and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat to medium and continue to cook until the skin is light golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets, cook for 30 seconds more, and transfer, skin side up, to a platter.
- Add the garum, ginger, mandarin segments, mandarin juice, and hazelnuts to the brown butter and set over high heat. Cook, swirling the skillet, just until the mixture comes to a simmer, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the mint and cilantro, swirl again, and spoon the mixture over the fish. Top with the mustard greens. Serve right away.
- Combine the fish sauce and lime juice in a blender.
- Cut off and discard the bottom 1 inch and top 5 inches from the lemongrass, remove the outer layer, and cut the lemongrass into about-2-inch pieces.
- One by one, coarsely crush the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic in a mortar and transfer to a blender. Focusing on one spice at a time, coarsely crack the cloves, long peppers, and cinnamon stick in the mortar and transfer to the blender. Wrap the nutmeg in a kitchen towel, whack it with a heavy pan to crack into several pieces, and then add to the blender. Pulse the mixture to break up the solids a bit more, 15 to 30 seconds.
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 1 month (the longer the better). Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
State Bird Provision, copyright © 2017 by Stuart Brioza, Nicole Krasinski and JJ Goode. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.