State Bird Provisions has been an SF darling since the moment it opened its doors in the Fillmore District, proffering carts of dim-sum-styled California cuisine, and ushering in a new age of waiting-in-line. Chefs/partners/married people Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski have now translated that energy into a cookbook with author JJ Goode, featuring many of the restaurant’s most treasured recipes.
So, here’s the cover, which shows Fiscalini cheddar-whole grain pancakes with heirloom tomatoes and garlic aioli, one of the many savory pancake creations that Brioza has executed (the sourdough, sauerkraut, pecorino and ricotta pancakes are also a must-order).
And as a bonus, here’s a recipe for preserved lemons, an excellent example of the pantry staples that Brioza and Krasinski have included to make readers feel like they, too, can live in the dreamy world of State Bird Provisions. Read on for the recipe, and stay tuned for the book, which is set for an October release.
Makes about 4 cups
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 1-quart mason jar
Whether or not you make the Moroccan preserve yourself, it belongs in your larder. Salt and time turn the brightness and simple tartness of lemons into something much more complex and compelling. The whole fruit ends up edible—the tender rind is fragrant, pungent, and subtly astringent, while the pulp is still slightly sharp with acid. We turn the lemons into sauce for rabbit and slip slivers of rind into the filling for guinea hen dumplings.
9 organic lemons, washed and dried thoroughly, plus 3 ½ cups lemon juice
3 cups kosher salt
Slice off both ends from the lemons and stand each fruit upright on a cutting board. Working with one lemon at a time, cut the fruit in half lengthwise, stopping about ½ inch from the bottom. Rotate the lemon 90 degrees and make a similar cut.
Working with one lemon at a time, gently pull open the fruit (making sure not to break it into pieces), pack in ¼ cup of the salt, and add it to the jar, cramming the first three lemons next to each another. Once you’ve added three lemons, evenly sprinkle on ¼ cup salt. Continue the process, sprinkling ¼ cup salt onto each layer of three lemons. Slowly pour in enough of the lemon juice to cover the lemons.
Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature and away from direct sunlight for 3 weeks. Turn the jar upside down and store for another 3 weeks.
Transfer the lemons to clean, airtight containers, add enough of the juice to cover, and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.