• It’s a mouthful in more ways than one

    by Richard Oh

    This recipe comes from Tim Wood, Executive Chef at Carmel Valley Ranch. He began his culinary career in the Catskills region of New York’s Hudson Valley. It was here amongst the area’s countless small family farms that Wood learned the importance of local seasonal ingredients – where they come from, how they are grown, and how to be creative with them. This early awareness of quality ingredients planted an initial seed of interest in a culinary career.

    After Chef Wood graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, he moved to New York City to begin his Manhattan restaurant experience as an extern at the famed Rainbow Room. It was here that he forged a kinship with Chef Michael Lamonico of New York’s acclaimed Windows on the World restaurant, which in time led to an introduction to Tom Valenti under whom Chef Tim worked as a sous chef at the renowned Butterfield 81.

    During a three-month cross-country culinary adventure in the spring of 2000, Wood connected with Chef Cal Stamenov at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. Chefs Wood and Stamenov worked closely together, traveling to an array of national and international culinary events which included Germany, Holland, Spain and beyond. It was during this period that Wood initially became inspired by the wines of the Central Coast region of California, leading him to pursue sommelier certification

    “The best thing about working in the Central Coast area is the ability to be so closely connected to local products and the people behind them,” says Wood when speaking about his overall philosophy. “When you know where your food is from and understand the care that the purveyors grant it, it is easy to extend your hand in friendship and consider them part of your family.”

    Crispy Pancetta Carmel Valley Honey Warm Potato Salad

    • 2 cups Pancetta chopped into lardoons
    • 2 pounds marble potatoes from our garden
    • (any small creamer will do)
    • 3 oz. sherry vinegar
    • 6 oz. Carmel Valley olive oil from the
    • Herbermann olive orchard
    • 4 oz. Carmel Valley honey from our
    • property
    • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley picked and
    • chopped
    • 1 bunch scallions cleaned and chopped thin
    • 3 T. stone ground mustard

    Start by cooking the potatoes in a sauce pot with just enough water to cover them by an inch (too much water steals the flavor from your spuds).

    Be sure to season the water with Diamond Crystal kosher salt 1 tablespoon should do the trick.

    Brown off the chopped Pancetta till brown and crispy but not too dry, reserve the fat.

    Make the dressing for the potato salad by whisking together the sherry vinegar, mustard, honey, olive oil and reserved pancetta drippings.

    When the potatoes are done cooking to your liking, the best way to check is eat one!

    Slice them into coins while still warm and add dressing, this will allow the flavors to melt in.

    Add herbs and warm pancetta and check seasoning again to your liking. Let the salad stand in a warm place and serve with roasted pork or chicken. It will definitely warm up a chilly afternoon. We serve it on our bar menu with a Sonoma Duck breast schnitzel!

    I like the fact that the Chef used pancetta with the potato salad. It added a nice element without overpowering the salad. Pancetta is a salt cured pork belly seasoned and dry aged for over three months. It’s also known as Italian bacon. It’s widely produced from Italy and Spain. The dressing is not too heavy with lots of flavor and paired nicely with Thomas Fogarty Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, the pancetta added some nice texture and flavors that brought it all together with the wine.

    The 2007 Thomas Fogarty Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountain, was a nice fit. Santa Cruz Mountain got it’s own AVA in 1981. They grow mostly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Syrah, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Blanc, and Petite Syrah. The first vines were planted back in 1804. However, it wasn’t until the 1970’s when they started to grow them commercially. I like the Cabernets from this region. It’s not overly tannic and has nice structure that doesn’t overpower the food.

    The Fogarty Cabernet was aged in oak for 24 months and are from their low yielding vineyards. The less yield per acre the more intense the fruit. The Santa Cruz Mountains with its fertile soil, warm days and cool nights make this region an amazing place to grow grapes. This allows for a long growing season. The long hang-time allows the grapes to have more intensity and it shows in this beautiful Cabernet by Fogarty. I got blackberries, black currants with earthy undertones, soft tannins, with a nice long finish. It has a nice acid base and flowed very well. I like the balance of the wine.

    Carmel Valley Ranch recently emerged from a complete $40 million renovation. What a beautiful property. I had the privilege of sitting down withChef Tim at his restaurant enjoying the view. I like the way the tables were arranged to the pool to the layout of the bar and definitely the wine room. It gave the whole place a nice warm feeling. Carmel Valley Ranch is nestled in the heart of California’s most fertile growing region. The area’s rich history of wine growing and sustainable, organic farming is reflected in Chef Wood’s fresh, natural and seasonal menus. Fresh seafood comes directly from the waters of the Monterey Coast. Many of the fruits and vegetables featured in Chef’s dishes are grown at the Ranch’s on-site organic garden, literally picked walking distance from his kitchen.

    pancetta warm salad

    fogarty wineWhat began as a pastime is now the Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyard, one of the Santa Cruz Mountain’s most respected wineries. A Stanford Cardiovascular Surgeon and world-renowned inventor, Thomas Fogarty took up home winemaking in the early 1970’s in a small cabin on the current winery site. He planted his first grapes in 1978, and in 1981 established a commercial winery in the historic grape growing region of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thomas, Jr. is running the show these days and is a promising young man. I’m sure he will take this to the next level. They produce both red and whites. In the reds, they have Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and some blends. In the whites, they produce a Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. That’s a very nice line-up. Please go visit their tasting room and try some of their wines. You will definitely have a great time. Go to www.fogartywinery.com for more information.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on February 3, 2012

    Topics: Oh, Have A Taste!

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