Did you catch in Wednesday’s NY Times that Peter Hoffman (of the shuttered Savoy) has opened a new restaurant in the same location on Prince Street? It’s called Back Forty West, since it’s a spinoff of Back Forty, his charming farm-to-table spot on Avenue B.
I was pleased to see that in charge is chef Shanna Pacifico, who is moving over from Back Forty. I consider her one of NYC’s most overlooked talents.
A while back I attended a wine tasting and brunch at Back Forty, the aim of which was to demonstrate that wines – even full-bore California chardonnay and syrah – can pair well with typical brunch dishes. Perfectly proving the point that mimosas can be banished once and for all were wines of Bouchaine Vineyards in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. Here is Pacifico’s inspired brunch menu from that day:
Market Hodgepodge Salad with artisanal ricotta, lemon verbena oil, fresh herbs, and spring market vegetables
House Smoked Trout with sweet potato pancakes, creme fraiche, and baby butter lettuce salad
Housemade Maple & Sage Sausage with fried egg, creamy grits, spinach, and toasted pecans
Blintzes with Housemade Farmers Cheese and strawberries, balsamic, and fresh basil
This meal tasted every bit as delicious as it sounds, and Pacifico was kind enough to share her can’t-miss blintz recipe. Any berry or mix of berries will do – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries – and fresh mint can replace the basil.
2 cups strawberries, washed and halved
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
6 tablespoons ricotta cheese, preferably fresh and locally made
10 fresh basil leaves
For the crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
In a bowl, combine strawberries, balsamic, and sugar. Allow to macerate for at least an hour before serving. Add the lemon juice right before serving.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle for skillet over medium-high heat. Pour the batter on the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
Cook each crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is lightly brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side briefly.
Take three crepes and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta. Wrap the crepe into a burrito shape. Top the crepe with the macerated strawberries and some fresh basil. Serves 3.
Now on to the Giveaway!
Two lucky commenters will each win one copy of the 2011/2012 Zagat New Jersey Restaurants Guide. I am a local editor of these handy maroon books that contain ratings by the dining public of 1,000+ eateries throughout the state.
To enter, leave a comment on this post before midnight EST Saturday March 10, 2012. To earn a bonus entry, simply “like” this post in addition to commenting. If you post about this giveaway on your own website or blog, post the link here to get yet another extra entry. The winners will be selected using random.org. Good luck!