SONOMA (CBS SF) - A native Californian, Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Zimmerman knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life at 23 years old; as a manager at a restaurant in Southern California he saw the chef leaving for the night after a busy dinner service - knife bag in tow, oil splatters on his chef jacket, a sense of calm with the hectic night behind him. After years working and managing front-of-house, in that moment, Zimmerman knew his calling was to be behind the line.
Born and raised in Santa Monica and Woodland Hills in Southern California, Zimmerman attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Over the course of the next six years, he strengthened his culinary skills in Arizona and Southern California, at Roy's Restaurant, where he was on teams to open new locations, and in Mammoth Lakes where he helped to open a BBQ-style restaurant as Executive Chef. With his passion for seasonal, local ingredients, Zimmerman dreamed of living and working in the wine and food mecca of Sonoma Valley. In 2012 dream became reality when Zimmerman joined "the girl & the fig" family as Chef de Cuisine and moved to Sonoma.
Chef Zimmerman is passionate about cooking the french-inspired, wine country fare that "the girl & the fig" is known for, because it is refined, yet approachable. He loves when our customers try something they have never had before (from bone-in sardines, to duck confit, to sunchokes), realize they love it, and it sparks a passion in them. He is constantly inspired by seasonal produce, and trips to the farmer's markets and "the girl & the fig's" farm near Glen Ellen, to create ever-evolving weekly tasting menus and new dishes that highlight the area's local bounty. Chef Zimmerman loves what he does because working behind the line is authentic and real, and it gives you a rush.
Chef & restaurant owner Sondra Bernstein gave us a preview of their tasty dish for the Jan 30th event - "Olive Oil Poached Prime Rib of Lamb". The full recipe is below.
Enjoy our Martini fueled (with one olive) talk and see you in Sonoma for Feast of The Olive.
Olive Oil Poached
Prime Rib of Lamb
w/ Oil Cured Olives, Cucumber & Chickpea Salad, Mint Salsa Verde, Vadouvan Yogurt
Pair it with Imagery Estate Winery, Dragonsleaf Syrah, Sonoma Mountain, 2012
For The Lamb:
- 3 racks of lamb, bones & fat cap removed
- 3 cups good olive oil
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 12 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 3 gallon size ziplock bags
EQUIPMENT: Immersion circulator set to 125 degrees
Clean the lamb. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place each lamb rack into a separate bag with one cup oil, 1 sprig of thyme and 4 smashed garlic cloves. Submerge each bag in the water bath with circulator, gentle placing the bag to remove all air from bag and use clip to hold bag in place. Cook for 3 hours.
For The Mint Salsa Verde:
- 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon capers, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- Pinch chili flakes
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For The Vadouvan Yogurt:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vadouvan curry spice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
For The Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar
- ¾ cup blended oil
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Whisk the vinegar, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together. Refrigerate for up to 1 day ahead.
For The Vegetables:
- 4 cups chickpeas, cooked (see Food for Thought)
- 1 small red onion, julienned
- 1 English cucumbers, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch half moons
- ½ cup Lemon Vinaigrette (see above)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the chickpeas, onion, cucumbers with the vinaigrette. Toss gently, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.
- Hard sear the lamb in a hot pan with canola oil for 2 minutes. Let rest for ten minutes. Divide the chickpea salad among 6 plates. Slice each rack into 8 pieces. Fan 4 racks per plate next to the salad. Garnish each plate with a drizzle of mint salsa verde and a dollop of the curry yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Food For Thought: If possible, use fresh garbanzo beans. They are in season from approximately June to September in Northern California. If you can't find fresh garbanzos, try Rancho Gordo classic garbanzo beans.
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