Sep 1, 2009

Boulette's Larder & Shortbread with Vanilla Salt

Another must stop in the Ferry Market in San Francisco is Boulette's Larder. Boulette's serves breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch in their kitchen or on the patio. In the evenings, they close their doors and serve elegant dinners for small, private groups.

Boulette's also has a wide-ranging and exotic selection of "larder" provisions for sale. You can pick up delicious to go items to take home for dinner. But you can also find exotic sea salts and spices, homemade stocks, honeys, oils, vinegars, condiments, baking ingredients and grains. In their Japanese larder, you'll find things like bamboo charcoal, katsuobushi (smoke-dried tuna), yuzu, Japanese spices and even specialized Japanese sugars.

Boulette's is little jewel box of wonderful flavors to eat and explore. It is the kind of place that will inspire you to want to take away some exotic ingredient and then revel in choosing what to do with it.

We had a lovely breakfast there one morning. I had poached eggs on a bed of greens with a spoonful of their homemade yogurt and the best corn bread I've ever tasted. It was rough and coarse and crumbly. I want to track down some coarse ground corn meal and try replicating it at home. (Wish I'd asked for the recipe.) My friend, Kelley, ordered the European-style hot chocolate. She was hoping it would be as good as some she'd had in Europe recently and she wasn't disappointed. It was like pudding. So thick it left rings around the cup as she savored it. (Excuse the photo quality, it was from my iPhone.)

While there, we purchased some flavored salts — alderwood smoked sea salt and vanilla sea salt. The alderwood was for my hubby. It's going to be good on some roasted beast or even some roasted potatoes. I got the vanilla salt for me. I've been wanting to experiment with it for some time and just hadn't gotten around to ordering any. My first try with it is on these shortbreads dipped in chocolate. The vanilla salt adds a perfect little hit of flavor with the chocolate.

In case you're wondering, the cookie imprints were made with a new cookie cutter I saw online and ordered on eBay from Germany. It's called "Brigitte." After a bit of fussing with trimming each letter, you fit them into a little tray inside the cutter. They are a little time-consuming to use but make fun impressions. Be sure to flour the cutter before each cut and note that they work best with colder, firmer dough.

I used my favorite shortbread recipe, which I've posted about before. Take a handful of chopped bittersweet chocolate and melt it in a bowl in the microwave with a tablespoon of butter (or cream). Stir it together well until it's completely melted. Dip the ends of your shortbread cookies into the chocolate and place on a silpat- or parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool and set up. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with a tiny pinch of vanilla sea salt.

Boulette's Larder
Ferry Market, San Francisco

1 comment:

Lisa said...

God I LOVE this whole post! I love the store, the hot chocolate, the condiments, the cookie cutter, the shortbread, ALL of it! I would like to move into this post!