A year ago I had the opportunity to stage for three days at Addison Restaurant in the Grand Del Mar. During lunch one day I asked Chef William Bradley who (other than Thomas Keller) are the chefs he most respects. One name came up immediately: Chef David Kinch of Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California. I have not yet had the opportunity to eat at Manresa, but a reading of his first cookbook, Manresa: An Edible Reflection, has only whetted my appetite to do so.
Kinch will be in town this weekend as the next chef and author at the Good Earth/ Great Chefs Series at the Chino Farm on Sunday, November 10, 2013 from 11am -1pm, featuring that cookbook. This book signing and culinary event will include small bites inspired by Kinch’s recipes and the seasonal produce at the Chino Farm, along with beer pairings from local craft brewer Steven Strupp of Rule of Thumb Brewing Co., and caramel samples from the Caramel Collective.
David Kinch is known as a chef’s chef, both here and abroad. Chefs vie for positions in his kitchen, and the influence of his mentorship has been reshaping California cuisine not unlike the way Alice Waters did before him. He was named Best Chef: Pacific by the James Beard Foundation and Chef of the Year by GQ, and his restaurant, Manresa, holds two Michelin stars. Named after the Spanish town where Kinch had a transformative meal, he and the restaurant (which opened in 2002) have built upon the very California revolution of “terroir” — or sense of place — and developed an almost exclusive relationship with nearby Love Apple Farm, which he calls his laboratory. To assure he has the freshest ingredients he also sources seafood and eggs and cheeses and fruits from the surrounding area. His number one advice to cooks is, “use the freshest and best ingredients that you can afford.”
In the cookbook, Chef Kinch details his thoughts about building a dish: the creativity, experimentation and emotion that go into developing each plate and daily menu, and how the tasting menu ultimately tells a deeper story. The recipes contained within the book range from simple and satisfying, like an Old-Fashioned Omelet, to much more ambitious, such as Spot Prawns with Bone Marrow and Artichokes. A literary snapshot of the restaurant, from Kinch’s inspirations to his technique, Manresa celebrates the creativity behind the food and its profound connection to the land and the sea. Joyce Goldstein wrote that, “for all the elegant presentation and impressive technical skills displayed on each of Kinch’s plates, what impresses you first is flavor, intricate layers of flavor.”
Here is a taste of Manresa and the cookbook:
creamy nasturtium rice with passion fruit and crab
serves 8 as a first course or 4 as an entrée | Pictured on page 94
| Nasturtium Stock |
- 450 grams (2 quarts) nasturtium flowers, including stems
- 1.5 kilograms (6 cups) soft water (low mineral content, for example, Fiji water)
Harvest a good armful of nasturtium flowers. Separate at least 100 grams (2 cups) of the petals from the stems, as well as a handful of unopened buds and a few tender leaves, and reserve for the Nasturtium Butter and for serving. Place the stems in a large bowl and cover with the water. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the flavor to infuse in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain; discard the stems.
| Nasturtium Butter |
- 120 grams (1/2 cup) Nasturtium Stock (above)
- 100 grams (1 cup) reserved nasturtium petals
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons) butter, softened
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Fine sea salt
Slowly heat the Nasturtium Stock to 120°F (50°C). Combine the warm stock, nasturtium petals, and butter in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the sauce and season to taste with lemon juice and sea salt.
| Nasturtium Risotto |
- 700 grams (3 cups) Nasturtium Stock (left)
- 27 grams (2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
- 14 grams (1 tablespoon) butter
- 45 grams (1/2 cup) finely sliced leek, white part only
- 6 grams (1 teaspoon) finely chopped garlic
- 210 grams (1 cup) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- Approximately 120 grams (1/2 cup) white wine
- Kosher salt
- Approximately 170 grams (3/4 cup) Nasturtium Butter (below)
- 50 grams (1/2 cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
In a small saucepan, bring the Nasturtium Stock to just below a simmer. Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium- high heat. Add the leeks and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until opaque and the grains start to sizzle and stick together. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the rice completely absorbs all the liquid. Frequently season with a pinch of salt during the cooking process. Reduce the heat to low, add enough of the warm stock to cover the rice, and cook, gently shaking the pan and stirring constantly. Add more stock, 120 grams (1/2 cup) at a time, as it is absorbed. After about 20 minutes, with the rice nearly al dente, switch from adding stock to adding the Nasturtium Butter. When the risotto has a porridgelike consistency, remove it from the heat and fold in the cheese. Season to taste with salt.
> To Serve
- Approximately 450 grams (1 pound) Dungeness crabmeat
- Reserved nasturtium buds and young tender leaves (optional)
- 20 sheets gold leaf
- 4 to 5 passion fruits, halved, centers scooped out and reserved
- 40 to 50 reserved nasturtium petals
Mix the Nasturtium Risotto with a little of the crabmeat and a few nasturtium leaves. Spoon a shallow layer of risotto into individual bowls. Top each serving with more crabmeat, 2 or 3 sheets of gold leaf, and several spoonfuls of passion fruit seeds. Finish with the nasturtium petals and buds.