Tasty variation: Pistachio meatballs

April 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Give meatball night at your house a twist with a tasty variation from a San Francisco chef. Hoss Zare, chef and owner of Zare at Fly Trap, shares this meatball recipe.

Recipe: Hoss Zare's Pistachio Meatballs


Serves 15

For meatballs:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 lb ground beef
  • 2 large onions, chopped as finely as you have the attention span for
  • 2 c chopped pistachios (same size as onions)
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • 2 T cumin
  • 1/2 c chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 c chopped dill
  • 1/2 c chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze*:

  • 2 c pomegranate concentrate
  • 2 c red wine
  • 1 c honey
  • 2 T whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Harissa
  • Large pinch chili flakes

*If this glaze is too fancy or costly, Hoss recommends subbing two containers of Emeril's Kicked Up tomato sauce or other supermarket sauce.

1. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place eggs and meat in a large bowl and incorporate.

3. Mix all other meatball ingredients in another large bowl.

4. Incorporate dry mixture into meat mixture by kneading well with hands for 2 minutes.

5. Form meatball mixture into 2 ½ oz balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

6. As the meatballs cook, make the glaze by mixing all ingredients in a saucepot. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by ½. *If using store-bought sauce, skip to step 7 and simply add sauce and meatballs to frying pan in proportionate amounts.

7. In a frying pan with a deep lip, place 1/3 of the sauce. Add 5 meatballs and toss with the glaze for 2 minutes over medium heat. Place on serving dish, garnish and serve.

8. Continue incorporating glaze with remaining meatballs in this fashion until all 15 meatballs are glazed.

For more information, visit www.zareflytrap.com www.zareflytrap.com

About Hoss Zaré
Born in Tabriz, Azerbaijan, Hoss Zaré immigrated to the United States in 1986 and landed in San Francisco to join his older brother who had moved to the city a decade earlier. Almost immediately, Zaré began cooking to pay the bills while working his way through pre-medical coursework at University of California at Davis.

By 1989, Zaré was faced with the reality that work in the kitchen had become an essential creative outlet. He decided to continue cooking at The Fly Trap in San Francisco, where he met Craig Thomas, former Executive Chef of Ernie's on Jackson Square. As Thomas' sous chef, Zaré was encouraged to add his own perspective to the art of fine dining. After about a year, he was primed to take over the helm and ran the kitchen at The Fly Trap to rave reviews until 1992.

As a self-trained chef with a solid grasp of traditional French and American cuisine, Zaré decided to expand his culinary knowledge at South Park's Ristorante Ecco. He found the restaurant's Italian style of cuisine to align with his own background and perspective. Within a year, he took over the stove at Ecco, where again he garnered rave reviews.

Next up for Zaré was Aromi, a popular Italian spot on Polk St. Zaré took over the restaurant, infused it with his style and began to gain the recognition necessary to go out on his own. In 1996, Zaré did just that on Sacramento St. with his first restaurant, Zaré.

Thanks to his over-the-top sense of hospitality and unique style of Mediterranean cuisine, Zaré built a devoutly loyal following at his Pacific Heights location. Things were going so well that, in 1999, he reclaimed Aromi, a space that was very close to his heart, and reincarnated the restaurant as Bistro Zaré. The new Bistro became an overnight success story.

After years building a name for himself within the city walls, Zaré's passion for wine and the Slow Food movement lured him to relocate to Napa. In 2005, he launched Zaré Napa featuring a Mediterranean-inspired wine country menu focused on community-provided produce.

Zaré spent two beautiful years honing his restaurant's private garden and building a great appreciation for the abundance of wine country. Yet as time went on, he began to crave the energy of the city and his family in San Francisco. He set his sights on returning to the place that so warmly embraced him when he first arrived in the U.S.

In 2008, Zaré returned to reopen The Fly Trap in SoMa. Zaré is delighted to call San Francisco home again. At Zaré at Fly Trap, he entertains all week long with food and beverage programs created by the best Bay Area talents in an extraordinary space that pays tribute to the history of San Francisco.


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