Serves 4 to 6

Also known as Shakshouka in the Middle East it is a staple throughout Israel, Libya, Algeria and Morocco. It is often served at breakfast but can be found any time of day. Sometimes roasted peppers are added and you can also add cooked meats like lamb or chicken. The rich, tomatoey flavors go well with the 2019 Owsley Pinot Noir.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 small jalapeno chili, stemmed and chopped (or to taste)
1 15-ounce can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
1 cup or more chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 – 6 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon crumbled dry mint
Warm pita, for serving

Heat oil in a heavy 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and jalapenos and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add garbanzos, cumin and paprika and cook for another minute or two.

Add tomatoes and 1 cup stock; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. With a wooden spoon crush some of the beans to help thicken. Add more stock if desired. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta over sauce.

Crack eggs into sauce so that eggs are evenly spaced. Cover skillet reduce heat if sauce is bubbling too frantically and cook until whites are set but yolks are runny, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle shakshuka with parsley and mint and serve with pita, for dipping.
Alternately eggs can be poached separately and added just before serving to heat thru.



Serves 6

The idea for this sprang from the desire to make a hearty fish dish that could go nicely with red wine. Any hearty fish could be used like halibut, seabass or swordfish. An unusual, luscious dish to go with the equally luscious 2019 Founders Reserve Pinot Noir.

For the sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 pounds smoked ham hocks, cut into 2-inch pieces (ask your butcher to do this)
2 cups hearty red wine
2 cups beef or chicken stock
4 cups water
2 large bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
Balsamic vinegar to taste
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

For the fish
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 6-ounce grouper fillets, skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Make the sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until lightly browned. Add the hocks, wine, stock, water, bay leaves, cloves and pepper corns.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 2 hours until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone. Carefully skim any scum or froth that rises to the surface. Remove from heat setting hocks aside to cool. Pull meat off the bones in small pieces discarding any fat or gristle. Set meat aside. Strain stock discarding any solids. If making ahead, chill stock and remove and discard the fat layer

To finish sauce: add strained to a saucepan (you should have about 3 cups) along with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and reduce to 2/3 cup. Whisk in the 2 tablespoons butter. Check and adjust sauce for seasoning, set aside and keep warm. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Warm gently to serve adding the ham hocks to warm thru.

In a large, heavy sauté pan heat the oil and butter over high heat until almost smoking. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides and add to pan skin side down. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the edges begin to turn opaque, about 4 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until just opaque all the way thru, about 4 minutes more.

Place fish on warm plates and spoon the sauce and ham hocks around.



This is adapted from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich. Typically served with linguini, any of the cousins will work nicely. She notes that pasta with red clam sauce is almost never found in Italy, but a big seller in Italian American restaurants here in the United States. So, when you go to Italy, eat it as they do with white clam sauce, and never, ever ask for cheese to put on your linguini clam sauce. Mussels are also great substituted for the clams. The 2020 Russian River Ranches Chardonnay would be delicious here.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 to 6 anchovies
1/2 cup dry white wine
36 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes or to your taste
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and cook until sizzling, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add anchovies and stir until the anchovies break up and dissolve into the oil, about 2 minutes.

Add the white wine and clams to the skillet, along with chile flakes and oregano. Ladle in about 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until clams open, about 5 to 7 minutes. As the clams open, remove to a bowl. When all the clams are out, increase heat to high and add 1/2 cup of the parsley. Meanwhile, shuck the clams. Leave a few unshucked for garnish if you like.

Add the pasta directly to the sauce. Cook and toss until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Add shucked clams and remaining 1/4 cup chopped parsley, cook a minute more, to blend the flavors, and serve.



Serves 4

An easy chicken dish with delicious flavors of the Mediterranean. Terrific with the 2019 Les Pierres Chardonnay.

4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds discarded
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon Pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
1 small fresh fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2/3 cup green olives* such Cerignola
Juice of 1 small lemon
2/3 cup drained and crumbled fresh feta cheese, optional

Preheat the oven to 375°. Season the chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large ovenproof pan or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the thighs in a single layer, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic cloves to the pan and flip the thighs over. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and garlic from the pan and set aside.

While the pan is still hot, add the onions, lemon slices, fennel seed and oregano and season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until the onions have softened and the brown bits on the bottom of the pan have loosened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Off heat, stir in the fresh fennel and then nestle the thighs skin-side up in the onion mixture and add the garlic and olives. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Scatter remaining fresh oregano leaves and feta, if using, over the top and serve.

John Ash © 2022 & Photo Credit: Ed Aiona