The Slanted Door — Off the Shelf
There are so many wonderful things to say about Charles Phan's new cookbook, The Slanted Door, it's almost impossible to pick a place to start. The Slanted Door tells the tale of the San Francisco restaurant of the same name through its storied 20-year history. It follows Phan and his beloved eating establishment as he built it, brick by brick and dish by dish, taking The Slanted Door through three locations in the City by the Bay. The pages are ripe with bright stories, honesty about the struggles that come with starting and maintaining a restaurant, and a rich appreciation for elegant food, wine, tea and cocktails.
The book is broken down into acts of the restaurant's history, highlighting dishes as they became popular at each of the establishment's locations. Act One is from Valencia Street in the Mission. Act Two features dishes from the Brannan Street location. Act Three features dishes from The Slanted Door's final and permanent home, The Ferry Building. Within each location-based act, you'll find select recipes from the restaurant's menu, including starters, cocktails, the raw bar, salads, soups, mains and desserts. It also includes essays about how the tea, wine and cocktail programs were all developed to give customers the best possible dining experience.
Phan traces the evolution that the menus saw with the various spaces The Slanted Door restaurant inhabited. He starts with signature appetizers, giving readers everything from his famed spring roll variations (you'll immediately want to make the Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Garlic Sauce) to small plates like Vietnamese Sausage and Nem Nuong Vietnamese Meatballs (recipe below for you to try at home). Phan even snuck in his recipe for fried chicken, which isn't on the menu at The Slanted Door, because it is such a dish at sister restaurants Hard Water and South that he simply couldn't resist sharing it with readers. The Slanted Door goes on sale Oct. 7. Preorder your copy here.
Reprinted with permission from The Slanted Door by Charles Phan, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Ed Anderson., Reprinted with permission from The Slanted Door by Charles Phan, copyright (c) 2014.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for grilling over medium heat.
In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pork fat and cook for about 10 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the pork and cut into 1/4-inch dice.
Working in three batches, mix together the baking powder and water. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pork belly, pork fat, fish sauce, sugar, baking powder mixture, white pepper, curing salt and kosher salt. Blend until the mixture turns into a stiff paste that is sticky and springs back to the touch, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green onions, shallots and garlic, and give it a few pulses more.
Transfer the paste to a large bowl. Coat your palms lightly with canola oil. Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the paste and, using your hands, shape it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Set aside on a platter and repeat with the remaining paste.
Grill the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes. The balls should feel firm to the touch. Serve warm.
Reprinted with permission from The Slanted Door by Charles Phan, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Ed Anderson.