Local Bounty: January 7
SuperNaturally at Sea
Posted Monday, January 7, 2013, 09:14AM
A few weeks ago I met Christian Eggert and Tony Nguyen at Chad White’s first Plancha Baja Med popup dinner at Carnitas Snack Shack. The young guys mesmerized me with their descriptions of the new seafood sandwiches they were making at the San Diego Public Market. The duo, whose business is called SuperNatural Sandwiches, focuses on local products, as sustainable as possible, with flavors that bring out the best in these local valued ingredients. The seafood comes from Catalina Offshore Products, the greens from Suzie’s Farm, the goat cheese from Nicolau Farms, the cheddar cheese from Spring Hill Cheese, the bread—a delectable New England-style split-top roll with sweet, brioche-like dough—from Bread & Cie. Everything else? From Specialty Produce.
What you’ll get is beautifully prepared seafood nestled between slices of warm, toasted bread, flavored by house-made aiolis, rubs, and marinades; chopped bacon; Asian-marinated chopped tomatoes; and some crispy lettuce. Bread-averse? No problem. They don’t advertise it, but you can get salads that mimic the various sandwiches—which are cleverly named after mythological sea creatures, such as Siren, Nessie, and Hydra.
Sandwiches range from $8 to $10. Currently, you can find SuperNatural Sandwiches on Sundays and Wednesdays at the Public Market, but they’re eyeing some additional markets to participate in.
Here are a few I tasted.
SuperNatural Sandwiches from left: Harpy, Kraken, Neptune
Just when you thought you’d had shrimp in every possible way, here comes the mouthwatering Harpy sandwich. Sweet Mexican white shrimp are beautifully grilled and still tender to the bite. Between them are dabs of tangy goat cheese, crispy pieces of smoked bacon, a rich tri-chili aioli interspersed with balsamic glaze, and a sprinkling of tomatoes marinated in ginger, rice wine vinegar, miren, peanut oil, and chives. $9
Eggert’s wife is from Bangkok, and when they go there to visit family, they always stop at a three-story palace that makes their favorite red curry crab. When it came time to develop the menu, Eggert—the chef of the duo—adapted the red curry crab into crab cakes, using a combo of Pacific stone crabs and blue crabs. You get two of these mildly spicy cakes with a squeeze of their version of tartar sauce made with citrus and horseradish, along with greens and those yummy Asian-marinated tomatoes. $10
These sautéed petite bay scallops marry beautifully with crispy smoked bacon and are elevated by the three-chili “pyro” aioli and new avocado ponzu sauce. It’s a big sandwich, so get a fork to help you make the most out of it. $9
The aiolis are all so delicious I asked Eggert for a recipe for one of them. I got their sublime basic garlic aioli, which I can share with you here. This pairs well with shrimp, white-fleshed fish, and crab.
From SuperNatural Sandwiches - makes 12 ounces
For Roasted Garlic
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 gloves fresh garlic
- 1 egg
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon, zest and juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon chives, minced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (to taste) salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (to taste) white pepper, ground
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the first layer of skin from the garlic head. Rinse thoroughly and dry the garlic head. Cut off the top 1/3 of the head, exposing the cloves. Place two 8”X 8” sheets of foil on top of each other and place the garlic head in the center. Cup the foil around the garlic and drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, close the foil around the garlic, and place on a sheet pan to bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. To extract the roasted garlic, let cool to the touch, open the foil to expose the top of the garlic, and squeeze the entire bundle.
2. Combine the egg, fresh garlic, and roasted garlic paste to a blending container. Using an immersion blender, pulse until combined and frothy.
3. Combine oils in a container for pouring.
4. With the immersion blending running, slowly drizzle in the oil until just combined.
5. Add lemon juice and zest to the mixture and blend until smooth.
6. Add water as needed to thin aioli.
7. Fold in chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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