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Friday, February 5, 2010

Etymology of a Special: Spencer on the Go's Lamb Cheek Sandwich

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 12:08 PM

  • Alex Farnum/Spencer on the Go
A new SFoodie feature: Every week, we call a local

chef to ask what he or she is putting on the menu that night, and

what inspired its creation.

Spencer on the Go is the side project of Laurent Katgely, that got a lot of press for taking cart food about as upscale as it could go. In general, you'll find the truck parked opposite Terroir Natural Wine Bar (1116 Folsom at Seventh St.) Wednesday through Saturday nights.

SFoodie: So what are you adding to the menu this weekend?

Katgely: I just introduced a sandwich with lamb cheeks braised with oranges. Lamb cheeks are an item that you don't see anywhere. They're a good thing, too, because you don't have to kill more lambs to get them ― we keep trying to find dishes where we can use every part of the animal, instead of killing the animal just for the rack.

I'm seasoning the cheeks with herbes de Provence and lavender, [searing the meat], then deglazing the pan with oranges, port wine, and red wine. I add stock

and then braise the cheeks for two hours.

How did you think of lamb cheeks? A supplier offer them to you? They came back into my head not long ago. I started cooking in France at the age of 14 at La Bonne Etape in the South of France ― at the time, in 1983, it had two Michelin stars ― and we did that for staff dinner. I remembered it being the most amazing lamb I'd had. But I've

never really seen it on any menus here. Then I found a source, Golden Gate Meat Co. I was even kind of shocked they had them.

How were the cheeks served for staff dinners? Just grilled with lots of herbs and served medium

rare. They were very interesting, but cheeks are a better meat for braising. They're not very strong, and very fatty. I think there's enough fat so that we don't need to add anything to the bread ― the meat just spreads out. We simply add butter lettuce tossed in a mustard vinaigrette.

How'd you come up with the oranges you added to the braise? We were doing a lobster dish in the restaurant with oranges, and so we had some leftover fruit. I tossed them in [the braising liquid] and liked the sugar and acidity. We also used oranges in a squash flan we served with pickled herbs.

How much are you charging for the cheek sandwich? Ten dollars.

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