We were in California’s Napa Valley last weekend for a conference and jumped at the chance to dine at a phenomenal restaurant, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, in St. Helena. Parking ourselves at the bar, we ordered a house specialty, a crispy wood oven duck served with picholine olives and potato croquettes.
Chef Pawlcyn wasn’t at the restaurant that evening. She has two other Napa eateries and fills some of her spare time writing cookbooks.
We’ve previously featured some of the chef’s recipes. This latest one brings to mind the dish served in the popular 1991 movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.”
But Chef Pawlcyn takes up her green tomato dish several notches by serving them with a spicy rémoulade. It’s a variation of the classic French rémoulade, typically made with tarragon, cornichons and a French coarse-grained mustard. Chef Pawlcyn’s biggest change was to use Creole mustard, which is much spicier than the French version.
“Make sure the tomatoes you use for this dish are nice and hard, with no hint of ripening,” she advises. “You want that firm crispness and tart taste to contrast with the rich creaminess of the rémoulade.”
The dish is the next best thing to eating at one of Cindy Pawlcyn’s restaurants. And if you make the fried green tomatoes at home, you might want to think about renting the movie.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch