Cortney Burns, co-chef at Bar Tartine in the Mission district, is one of those rare creatures in the kitchen: creative, industrious, leaning on age-old techniques like fermentation, and always managing to remain positive and sunny, no matter how little sleep she’s had. Burns and her co-chef, Nick Balla, are releasing their new cookbook “Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes” on November 25, this year.
Cortney recently taught a class at SF Cooking School, giving local home cooks (including moi) an opportunity to prepare and eat recipes from the upcoming book. If you’ve ever dined at Bar Tartine, you’ll know that “layering flavors” as Burns calls it, is quintessential to each of their dishes. Using seasonal produce, snout-to-tail animal products, fermented vegetables, sprouted grains, and a wonderful fusion of Japanese and Eastern European cooking techniques, the result is a complex yet deeply satisfying array of flavors in every bite.
Take the Pistachio Dip. Along with its eponymous pistachios, it also features charred chile, lime juice and toasted wild nori giving it an unctuous umami flavor. Hard to explain, and harder yet to replicate without the creators’ recipe, this is exactly why you should be excited for the release of Burns and Balla’s book.
The Kale Salad with Rye Bread, Seeds and Yoghurt is another great example of how the duo work their flavors, particularly given the current overuse of kale on menus. Served over dressed yoghurt and a generous schmear of sunflower tahini, which combines caramelized garlic with sunflower seeds, kombu dashi (a type of seaweed broth), lemon juice and spices, the lightly wilted kale and warmed bread create a kale salad you’ve likely never made at home before.
If you want to wow your friends this holiday season, pre-order “Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes” now on Amazon. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!