Foodie Chap w/ Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto San Francisco
KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
Chris Cosentino, aka @OffalChris, is a graduate of the culinary program at Johnson & Wales university and went on to build his résumé at Red Sage in Washington, D.C. and Rubicon, Chez Panisse, Belon, and Redwood Park in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He took his first executive chef position at INCANTO in 2002 where his inspired and innovative interpretations of rustic Italian fare promptly earned the restaurant its first 3-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to serving as Incanto’s executive chef, Cosentino is also a co-creator of Boccalone artisanal salumeria and has gained international acclaim as a leading expert and proponent of offal cookery. Cosentino has been notably featured on the Food Network in The Next Iron Chef America and Chefs vs. City and has penned several articles firsthand for national publications including Mountain Biking Magazine, Jamie Oliver, and the cult-favorite comic Wolverine.
“Being a chef is about teaching.”
- Chris Cosentino, Chef/Partner Incanto
Cosentino has a much cooking outside the kitchen; 2011 saw the debut of a line of clothing from Cosentino and a sold-out line of shoes available through Zappos.com and editorial features in Men’s Journal, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal,and Bon AppÈtit, and CBS Sunday Morning’s annual food segment. This year, Chris debuted PIGG, a pork concept at UMAMIcatessen in collaboration with SBE Entertainment as well as his first cookbook entitled Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal from Olive Press Media, an imprint of Williams-Sonoma and Weldon Owen publishers. 2012 was also the year Chris was crowned TOP CHEF MASTER.
INCANTO, I am proud to declare is my neighborhood restaurant just blocks from my house located on Church Street in SF’s Noe Valley. The bar is always a good place to sit for a cocktail and small plates. Chef’ is known for his “whole beast” or “nose to tail” menu. However, vegetarians will also find some inviting and surprising offerings to enjoy. You’ll find Chris on the line almost every night of the week. He is IN his kitchen.
He offered up a delish recipe for FoodieChap; Persimmon, black walnuts, watercress & nocino salad. Chef’s recipe is a simple one that can be found in his BEGINNINGS cookbook.
This renaissance man and top chef master met me at INCANTO for our Foodie Chap chat. Enjoy the conversation and chuckles (come on you know that famous chuckle)!!
Persimmon, Black Walnuts, Watercress and Nocino
Every year, my business partner’s in-laws bring us persimmons from their backyard. One year they had a bumper crop and this salad was born out of trying to come up with ways to use the fruits before they spoiled. Using nocino, the green walnut liqueur from Emilia-Romagna, enhances the flavor of the walnuts.
Nocino Vinaigrette Ingredients
3 cups (24 fl oz/750 l) nocino liqueur
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) black walnuts
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Fuyu persimmons
2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed
To make the vinaigrette, pour the nocino into a nonreactive saucepan, place over low heat, and simmer until reduced to 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml), 15ñ20 minutes (the liqueur is flammable, so watch it closely while it is reducing and be sure to keep it over low heat.) Transfer the liqueur to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Once the liqueur is cool, whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and then slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil until emulsified. You should have about 21/2 cups (20 fl oz/625 ml). You will need only about 2 tablespoons for this recipe. Cover and refrigerate the remainder for another use. It will keep for up to 4 days.
Preheat the oven to 350∞F (180∞C). In a small bowl, toss the walnuts with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and then spread in a small, shallow pan. Place in the oven and toast until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
Peel the persimmons. Using a mandoline or other vegetable slicer, cut each persimmon into paper-thin slices, being careful to avoid the seeds. In a bowl, combine the watercress and persimmons. Crush the toasted walnuts in your hands and add to the bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper and then dress lightly with the vinaigrette.
To serve, divide the salad evenly among individual plates and grind a little pepper over each salad. Serve right away.
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