Who doesn’t love Napa? Just a short jaunt from San Francisco, one of our favorite cities in the world, the Napa Valley is a culinary center all it’s own. In St. Helena, this cozy, stylish and Architectural Digest-approved dining room (deemed “Ten Most Beautifully Designed”) opened just last spring. Already, we’re hearing great things about Archetype’s chef Ryder Zetts, whose wood-burning oven-centric cooking is drawing locals and traveling foodies alike.
Chef Zetts, who once whipped up dishes side-by-side with Michelin-starred Chef Brandon Shar, keeps the menu seasonal and locally-oriented. Lucky for diners, that means a table at Archetype quickly fills with plates of the best that Monterey Bay has to offer like grilled squid with saffron and produce-heavy starters and sides such as sugar snap peas with crispy rice and chanterelle-laced buckwheat blinis.
We asked Chef Zetts to share a recipe with our readers and he’s offered up this doozy. Cape gooseberries are about as fun as food gets – each berry wrapped in it’s own paper lantern-like sheath. Zetts’ recipe may seem aspirational, but with its many versatile uses it may be worth trying to use for dishes of all kinds. Here are notes from the chef himself…
This is a fun recipe to make on several levels. Cape gooseberries are in the physalis family, which also has tomatillos as its cousin. It’s fun to pair these two into a salsa with the earthy, musty flavor of hominy providing a nice compliment to the versatile tortilla chip. My family grows gooseberries every year, as the plant tends to reseed itself very easily. The best fruits are the ones that, when they are ripe enough, they just fall to the ground. This salsa can be eaten alone or pairs lovely with a steamed white fish such as snapper or grilled pork loin. This dish covers the gamut of flavors from sweet and sour to earthy and spicy.
Gooseberry Tomatillo and Hominy Salsa
1 cup rancho gordo hominy, soaked overnight in water
12 oz tomatillos, peeled, washed and halved
2 oz rough chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeno, seeded and rough chopped
8 sprigs of cilantro
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup water
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup minced red onion
1 jalapeno, minced
3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 cup gooseberries, halved
salt to taste
Dump the soaking water for the hominy and cover with fresh water to cover about 3 inches. Bring to a boil, turn down to a low simmer and cook until the hominy “flowers” or splits open and is tender to the bite. Season with salt and cool completely in the water.
In a separate pot combine the tomatillos, red onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, olive oil, water and salt. Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until falling apart and thick. Puree with an immersion blender then set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl combine the minced jalapeno and red onion, squeeze the lime juice over them and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes so the lime juice and salt can take away the raw edge from the onions. Add the gooseberries, hominy, cilantro and reserved tomatillo puree. Gently fold the items together, taste for seasoning and serve at room temperature.