A New Napa Cuisine follows Christopher Kostow’s journey from a young line cook in a seaside town to the storied Restaurant at Meadowood, the Napa Valley mainstay that has earned three Michelin stars and James Beard Awards for best chef and outstanding service under Kostow’s leadership.
Through 100 artfully constructed recipes and stunning photography, Kostow details the transformative effect this small American valley has had on his life and work—introducing us to the artisans, products, growers, and wild ingredients that inspire his unparalleled food. As he shares stories of discovering wild plums and radishes growing along the creek behind his home or of firing pottery with local ceramists, Kostow presents a new Napa cuisine—one deeply rooted in a place that’s rich in beauty, history, and community.
Reprinted with permission from A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow, copyright© 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photography © 2014 by Peden + Munk. Please support your local bookstore or purchase using our affiliate links through IndieBound or Amazon.
Snapper Artichoke Tiny Greens
The perfect artichokes appear in the Napa Valley Reserve garden in early spring. We prepare them in the style of barigoule and serve them with red snapper. The scales are removed from the snapper, puffed, and served as a garnish along with wild and cultivated greens.
390 grams (14 ounces) red snapper filet, scales removed and reserved
800 grams (2 3/4 cups) kosher salt
600 grams (2 3/4 cups) grapeseed oil
Put the reserved scales in a container and soak in cold water for 35 minutes. Rinse the snapper under ice-cold running water to remove the excess salt and pat dry on paper towels. Cut the snapper into four equal pieces, about 90 grams (3 ounces) each. Store in an airtight container set over ice in the refrigerator and ready to use.
Pour the oil into a small rondeau and heat to 325ºF (165ºC). Drain the scales and pat them almost, but not completely, dry on paper towels. Add the scales to the hot oil and fry for about two minutes. transfer to paper towels to drain. Line a dehydrator tray with paper towels, spread the fried scales out evenly and dehydrate at 25ºF (52ºC) for at least two hours, until the scales are dry and crispy.
200 grams (7 ounces) snapper frames
13 grams (1 tablespoon) ascorbic acid
3.8 kilograms (4 quarts) water
90 grams (3.3 ounces) baby artichokes
30 grams (2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoons) extra virgin olive oil
28 grams (1 ounce) anchovy filets
80 grams (3/4 cup) celery, in 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) pieces
250 grams (1 1/2 cups) yellow onion, in 1-inch (2.3 centimeter) pieces
100 grams (1 cup) green garlic, in 1-inch (2.3 centimeter) pieces
3.8 kilograms (4 quarts) fish fumet
Rinse the snapper frames under cold running water for two minutes. Pat dry on paper towels and reserve. In a large bowl or other container, dissolve the ascorbic acid in the water. Working with one artichoke at a time, use a paring knife to remove and discard the green leaves by peeling them away from the artichoke, exposing the white leaves underneath. Remove the tips of the white leaves and, using a vegetable peeler, peel away the green skin from the stem. Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and immediately submerge in the acidulated water. repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Place a stockpot over medium heat, add the olive oil and anchovies, and sweat for about two minutes until fragrant. Remove the artichokes from the acidulated water, and reserve the water. Add the artichokes, celery, onion, and green garlic and sweat for 10 minutes longer, until the vegetables are translucent. Pour in the fumet and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for one hour. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. When the north is ready, strain through a very fine cloth filter into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool the broth. Season with kosher salt.
800 grams (1.8 pounds) baby artichokes
13 grams (1 tablespoon) ascorbic acid
30 grams (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
40 grams (1/3 cup celery), in 1-inch (2.3-centimeter) pieces
125 grams (3/4 cup) yellow onion, in quarters
25 grams (1/4 cup) green garlic, in halves
4 grams (1 3/4 teaspoons) white peppercorns
1 gram (1 teaspoon) fresh bay leaves
350 grams (1 1/2 cups) dry white wine
2 kilograms (about 8 cups) water
10 grams (2 teaspoons) Twin Sisters olive oil
Trim the artichokes as you did for the broth, adding them to the same acidulated water. transfer a small amount of the acidulated water to a separate container. Scoop out artichoke halves from the large container and, using a mandolin, shave them into the small container. Refrigerate the small container of artichokes for later use.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil over low heat. Add the celery, onion, green garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves and sweat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent. Increase the heat to high, add the artichokes and wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Add the water and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover the surface with a piece of parchment paper. Cook for 15 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. To check for doneness, cut off a piece of the stem, it should cut easily while still maintaining its shape. Remove from the heat.
Prepare an ice bath. remove 300 grams (10.5 ounces) of the artichokes from the liquid and transfer to a blender. Strain a small amount of the cooking liquid into a small picker. Turn the blender on to low speed to start mixing the artichokes, adding a small amount of the cooking liquid at a time until the artichokes become a smooth puree. Increase the speed to high and mix for a minute. Turn down the speed to low and slowly add the Twin Sisters olive oil, being careful not to force the puree out of emulsification. Strain the puree through a chinois into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool the puree. Season with kosher salt and transfer to a squeeze bottle. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Remove the remaining artichokes from the cooking liquid, cut each half into three wedges, and place in a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a very fine cloth filter and combine it with artichoke wedges. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pour about 48 grams (two cups) of the snapper north into a shallow saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of Twin Sisters olive oil and heat over low heat to 120ºF (49ºC). Add the snapper portions and poach for 12 minutes, until the snapper is firm but still stark white. Meanwhile, dress the shaved artichokes in a small amount of Twin Sister olive oil and Maldon salt.
Place a few dots of the artichoke puree on each of four plates, then put two pieces of the braised artichoke on each plate. When the snapper is cooked lay it on top of the artichoke puree. lay five pieces of the shaved artichoke on each plate. garnish with the wild garlic, tiny fennel, tiny celery, kale leaves, and wild chervil.
Christopher Kostow will be signing copies of A New Napa Cuisine on Monday, November 10 at 6:30 pm at Omnivore, 3885A Cesar Chavez, SF.
Christopher Kostow is the chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, California, and one of the youngest chefs ever to receive three Michelin stars. Kostow has cooked in such celebrated kitchens as George’s at the Cove in San Diego, Campton Place in San Francisco, Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, France, and Chez TJ in Mountain View, California, where he earned two Michelin stars. He was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2009 and won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: West in 2013; The Restaurant at Meadowood won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Service in 2014. Christopher lives in St. Helena with his wife, Martina, and their daughter, Daisy.