Inspired by Behroush Sharifi's spices and by tagine blends from Morocco, New Orleans chef John Besh of Restaurant August created a flavoring mix of cinnamon, star anise, black pepper and sugar to sprinkle on the duck breasts. The spices provide terrific aromas, while the sugar gives the meat a burnished crust in under 10 minutes of cooking.
Pairing: An Oregon Pinot Noir: 2007 Stoller JV Estate or 2007 WillaKenzie Estate Thibaud's Cuvée
Steamed Wild Striped Bass with Ginger and Scallions
Steamed fish may sound plain, but this version is packed with flavor: It's cooked in a ginger-and-sesame soy sauce and topped with frizzled jalapeños and scallions. "I think part of the reason people love this dish is that the sauce is a really good vehicle for rice," Andrea Reusing says.
Pairing: Lime-scented German Riesling: 2007 Georg Breuer Terra Montosa
Caramel-Lacquered Pork Belly with Quick-Pickled Honeydew
The key to this dish is the rich Vietnamese-inspired dark caramel. "A little bitterness in the caramel makes it more complex," Andrea Reusing says. "I often tell home cooks to take the caramel as far as they think they can, then pull it off the heat and let stand for a minute before adding the other ingredients."
Pairing: Bright, cherry-inflected Barbera: 2007 La Spinetta Cà di Pian
At Lilette in New Orleans, chef John Harris uses coriander seeds to make a simple, citrusy crust for his French-influenced rack of lamb. Behroush Sharifi's coriander seeds are small, so they cling to the meat; other coriander seeds tend to be larger, so they need to be coarsely ground before they are packed on.
Pairing: Chinon: 2007 Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Galuches or 2007 Les Pensées de Pallus