When the Super Bowl comes to town, cooks have to step up their game.
Chef David Lawrence knows the football world expects a lot from San Francisco when the Bay Area hosts the big game on Feb. 7. More than a million hungry fans will descend on the city by the bay, and they’ll expect good regional food as part of their Northern California NFL experience.
“Unfortunately, the 49ers aren’t playing,” said Lawrence, who owns 1300 on Fillmore and the brand new Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco. “But we still get to show off the beautiful West Coast and our beautiful stadium. And, of course, our great food.”
In the big game, the Denver Broncos will meet the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium, which has already built a foodie reputation as representing California cuisine. More than three-quarters of its concessions’ menu is sourced in Northern California.
Among the items Super Bowl fans will be eating at Levi’s: fresh Dungeness crab sandwiches on grilled sourdough bread; slow-roasted pulled pork (served with fried pickle chips and bourbon barbecue sauce on fresh-baked slider buns); a wide range of California-style pizzas; grilled Castroville artichokes (served with charred lemon, garlic aioli and fresh chives); and the ever-present garlic fries.
Lawrence will be doing his part the night before. He’s representing the 49ers and host city of San Francisco at the Taste of the NFL: Party with a Purpose, the Super Bowl’s official pre-game charity gala at the Cow Palace. Coming from all over the nation, celebrity chefs – one for each NFL franchise – will prepare a signature dish to honor their towns and teams.
“I’m going to do a tongue-in-cheek, very San Francisco dish,” Lawrence said with a chuckle. “Throughout the league, we’re known as the ‘wine and cheese eaters.’ So, I’m making something with creamy goat cheese to serve with a glass of white wine.”
At the 49ers booth, Lawrence will serve an appetizer of salt-roasted beets, chive goat cheese, pixie tangerines and pecan streusel, to be paired with William Hill chardonnay.
It may not sound like Super Bowl food, but it’s very San Francisco, he said. “I think people will get a kick out of it.”
This marks the third Super Bowl fundraiser that Lawrence has participated in as a celebrity chef. For Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City, he debuted with a signature dish from his 1300 on Fillmore: barbecued shrimp and grits. Last year in Phoenix, he brought chicken hot links with caramelized onions, roasted bell peppers and house-made West Coast yellow mustard.
“But with the game here in San Francisco, we wanted to do something this year that was very San Franciscan,” he said. “Of course, we’re using good Sonoma goat cheese and local ingredients.”
For Super Bowl 50 party planning at home, take a page from this same playbook and let the host city inspire the menu.
“San Francisco has so many classics: clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, cioppino, fresh Dungeness crab – when it’s edible,” Lawrence said. “There are so many possibilities.”
(Toxic algae has kept local crabs in the water and out of stock pots. Instead, the Dungeness crab now available comes from Washington state.)
“Those are iconic San Francisco dishes,” Lawrence added. “After that, it depends on where you are. In the Mission (District), it’s tacos and burritos. In North Beach, it’s pizza. We draw from everybody, every taste.”
San Francisco’s culinary roots run exceptionally deep. Tadich Grill, California’s oldest restaurant and in operation since 1849, still serves hometown favorites familiar to San Franciscans a century ago: cioppino, Hangtown fry and crab Louie. All are synonymous with the city by the bay.
Tadich Grill serves two kinds of clam chowder – “Boston-style” white and Coney Island red. Both recipes come from the Buich family, who bought the restaurant in 1928. (Its California twist in the Boston chowder: chopped green pepper.)
Like the ’49er miners, clam chowder came west with the prospectors and became the perfect remedy for a cold San Francisco day while making the most of local ingredients. The Old Clam House, which opened in 1861 and still operates in the same Bayview location, serves its Original Golden Gate Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, a tradition almost as old as the restaurant. (Think of bread bowls as edible packaging, an idea way ahead of its time.)
While respecting its tradition, San Francisco remains a melting pot of many flavors.
“Absolutely,” Lawrence said. “This is the most innovative city in the country. We pull from all over. We have some of the finest restaurants. For a city our size, nobody else can compare.”
Super Bowl 50
Who’s playing: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
When: Kickoff 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7
TV: Channel 13
Recipe courtesy California Olive Committee
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
1 cup yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 pound prepared whole wheat pizza dough
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup California ripe olives, whole
Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place pizza stone inside. In a bowl, combine oil, vinegar, basil and tarragon. Add tomatoes and toss to coat. Roll pizza dough out onto a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Spread coated tomatoes evenly across pizza dough and top with half of the cheese. Spread olives evenly over that, then top with remaining cheese. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Slice and serve.
Black and white pizza
Recipe courtesy California Olive Committee
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for pizza crust
1 cup quartered and thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons minced, roasted garlic
4 ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 package prepared pizza dough
1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
One 6-ounced can extra-large California black ripe olives, drained and cut in wedges
1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked, thinly sliced (or grocery rotisserie chicken, torn in small pieces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until onions are very soft. Roll pizza dough into a very thin oval on a lightly floured board. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil, then spread evenly with alfredo sauce. Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around the edges. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Spicy Sriracha deviled eggs
Cookbook author and culinary expert Gail Simmons of “Top Chef” fame created this Super Bowl party twist on an old favorite.
Makes 16 halves
8 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 scallion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Add eggs to a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, shut off heat and leave eggs to sit in the hot water for 12 minutes. Remove eggs from pan and gently place in an ice water bath until fully cooled. Peel and discard shells. Carefully cut eggs in half lengthwise and scoop yolks into a mixing bowl. Reserve white halves on a serving platter.
Add mayonnaise, sesame oil, hot sauce, vinegar and salt to the yolks and mash them together with a fork. When everything is well-combined, use a whisk to smooth and whip the mixture. Place in a piping bag or sealable quart bag, cutting off one of the bottom corners, and pipe mixture into the bowl of each egg white. Garnish each with a few sliced scallions and a pinch of toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Gail Simmons
Tadich Grill Boston clam chowder
The oldest restaurant in California, San Francisco’s Tadich Grill has been serving this creamy clam chowder for more than a century.
Recipe adapted from “Tadich Grill: The Story of San Francisco’s Oldest Restaurant” by John Briscoe (Ten Speed Press, 186 pages)
4 slices bacon or pancetta, coarsely chopped
3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped (or 3 shallots, chopped or 1 small yellow onion, chopped)
1 leek, white and light green parts, very thinly sliced
5 red potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup sliced celery
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup white wine fish stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Tabasco sauce
3 cans (6 1/2 ounces each) clams, with juice
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dry sherry
Place a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Drain off and discard half of the fat in the pot.
Return the bacon to the pot over medium heat and add the onions, leek, potatoes, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Saute in the reserved bacon fat for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened and tender.
Add the 1 1/2 cups cold water, fish stock, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce and stir well. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and their juice, stir well, and then add the heavy cream.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; whisk in flour until bubbly. Stir in milk and cook until thickened (about a minute) to create a bechamel sauce.
Add this bechamel sauce and cornstarch to the soup pot and stir. Simmer soup for another 15 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the sherry. Transfer to warmed soup bowls and serve at once.
Easy oven-baked garlic fries
This easy recipe was created by Ellie Krieger of the Food Network.
Recipe courtesy The Food Network
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 large baking potatoes, 12 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Heat the garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil aside.
Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks. In a large bowl, toss the oil, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes onto it in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.
Remove potatoes from the tray with a metal spatula. Toss with parsley, reserved garlic, and additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.
San Francisco-style cracked crab
This method works for a crowd and as many crabs as you want to cook. Blue crabs, which weigh about 12 ounces each, yield only 10 to 15 percent meat per weight. Meanwhile, Dungeness are much meatier; a 2-pound crab yields 8 to 10 ounces meat. If served as a main course, figure 8 ounces per person. Here’s the method for serving four people.
4 whole Dungeness crabs or 24 whole blue crabs
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning (such as Old Bay)
In a large heavy pot, bring salted water to boil. Add crab boil seasoning.
Plunge crabs into boiling water. Bring water back to boil, then reduce to simmer.
Simmer crabs 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the crabs. (Their shells will turn bright orange.) Remove from water.
Before serving, remove the shell’s “apron,” which looks like its name. separate shells and discard stomach. Remove claws and crack them with a gentle smack of a mallet. Cut body into four pieces with a heavy knife.
Pile crab onto a preheated platter and serve at once with melted butter. Or chill and serve on cracked ice with dipping sauce such as fresh mayonnaise. Provide diners with picks, claw crackers and/or nutcrackers to help extract meat.
Easy pulled pork
Serve this crowd-pleasing pork on sourdough bread or slider buns. This version comes from “The Pioneer Woman” Ree Drumond of The Food Network. Marinade the pork roast the night before and start cooking early Sunday morning to be ready for game time.
Recipe courtesy The Food Network
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 5-pound pork shoulder roast (aka pork butt)
4 onions, cut into halves
1 bottle good barbecue sauce
Stir together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork shoulder. Wrap the pork in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the pork in a large pot on a bed of the onion halves. Cover. Roast until fork-tender and falling apart, about 7 hours. Remove the pork from the pot and set it on a cutting board.
Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and add 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water. Scrape the pan to loosen up the bits and cook for 5 minutes to reduce. Pour in the barbecue sauce and stir to heat.
Shred the meat with two forks, then toss in the barbecue sauce until it’s coated to your liking. Serve on sourdough bread or rolls.