San Francisco’s Nopa is the ultimate neighborhood restaurant. Though the eatery’s known for its burger, Chef Laurence Jossel’s menu has a distinctly Mediterranean influence. The more sophisticated dishes, such as these lamb riblets, are major crowd-pleasers.
What to buy: Denver ribs, also known as riblets, consist of seven to eight ribs that are cut from the lamb breast and belly. You’ll have to special order them from your butcher, so be sure to plan ahead accordingly. And make sure the butcher doesn’t separate them into individual ribs; ask for the whole rack.
Harissa is a North African chile and spice paste that adds a nice dose of heat to foods. You can make it yourself, or easily find it in a jar or tube at most gourmet markets.
Beverage pairing: Paris Goulart Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Argentina. Cabernet has a grassiness that works perfectly with the herbal flavor of lamb. But these ribs are coated so thoroughly in aromatic spices that a wine with a little spice can add some nuance to the pairing, hence this Cabernet-Malbec blend from the Mendoza region of Argentina.
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