Dec 06

Tasty dishes Down Under $7 series

In this new series for the Upper Cut, we’re shining a spotlight on some #Aussome dishes chefs are cooking up around the country with True Aussie beef and lamb. These chefs are featuring high-quality, sustainable and grass-fed proteins in a wide array of different forms, well beyond the standard steaks and chops that used to be their main home on the menu. It’s about meeting modern diners where they are, and making full use of the cuts, cooking techniques and cuisines in the chef’s toolkit. Though all very different, you’ll see a common thread of affordability, dynamite presentation, bold flavor and – of course – deliciousness, all at a food cost designed to be profitable.


The dish: Braised Lamb-Stuffed Eggplants

The cut: Aussie Lamb Leg

Where it fits on the menu: small plate, sharable

Estimated Food Cost*: $2.75

Estimated Food Cost %: 25%

The Chefs: Sayat and Laura Ozyilmaz, Istanbul Modern SF

We love our new mates Sayat and Laura; they’ve been crushing it lately, being named Rising Star chefs for 2019 by the SF Chronicle and Star Chefs, hosting a James Beard dinner, and presenting at their alma mater the Culinary Institute of America’s annual “Worlds of Flavor” conference. Super well-deserved, as they definitely put in the work, and have some #aussome dishes on the menu, like this one!

“This dish uses a 'core technique' of Turkish cuisine, and you’ll find stuffed eggplants all over the region. Braised lamb and eggplant is a very traditional combination for a reason – it’s delicious!” says Sayat.

“We approach lamb with a zero waste perspective, and have it in three dishes on the menu to maximize our utilization,” he adds. “Using the Aussie boneless leg, we’ll use the perfect cubes for kebabs, the trim on the flatbread, and the sous vide cooking liquid becomes the base for our soup. This eggplant dish gives us another application for the excess broth and trim.”

The team partially peels and then brines the eggplants overnight. They’re par-cooked in a cast-iron pan, then stuffed with the rich, fragrant mixture of braised lamb, garlic confit, urfa chiles and lebanese 7-spice. (Yes, we’re drooling already) After baking through in a shallow bed of broth and crushed tomatoes, they’re ready for the finishing touch at pick up – a topping of feta bechamel and some breadcrumbs, then into the salamander or brick oven.

It’s a dynamite shareable or small plate, and works equally well family-style as an entrée over a pilaf. And under $3 food cost! Good onya, you two!


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