In 2016, we wooed, persuaded, and stalked the Bay Area's most talented chefs to convince them to share the recipes for their restaurants' signature dishes. Here are the 20 recipes our readers dug the most, compiled into an ultimate cookbook for your at-home culinary pleasure.

Make Bird Dog's Grilled Avocado at Home

Photo by Eric Wolfinger

Bird Dog just may be the best restaurant in Palo Alto.

For starters, chef Robbie Wilson has cooked in some of the best kitchens in the world, including Tom Colicchio's Craft, The French Laundry, Nobu, and the Michelin-starred Maison Troigros in France. And one of the most delicious dishes on his menu is the most simple: a grilled avocado with housemade ponzu sauce. Make this delectable dish at home with the recipe below.

Bird Dog's Grilled Avocado with Ponzu

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 Haas avocados (You are better off erring on the side of too firm, rather than too soft.)

4 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 TBS freshly grated wasabi or horseradish
Ponzu sauce (recipe below)
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Preheat your grill as if you were cooking a steak.Cut each avocado lengthwise in half and separate.
  2. Carefully remove the pit.
  3. With a large spoon, scoop the fruit out of its skin and brush each side with the olive oil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Place the avocado flat side down and grill to mark. (The idea is to mark each avocado, rather than cook it.)
  6. Gently turn the avocados over and grill until barely warmed through.
  7. Fill each cavity with the Ponzu sauce and serve with freshly grated wasabi.


Ponzu Sauce

Ingredients
1 piece kombu konbu seaweed (3 x 2 inches)
1 - 1.5 cups of bonito flakes (katsuobushi) (Available online or at most Japanese markets)
3/4+ cup soy sauce
2 TBS soy sauce
3/4 cup lemon juice
1⁄3 cup + 1 TBS mirin

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp rice vinegar

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 day to develop the flavors. (If you like a more prominent dashi flavor, then keep the mixture refrigerated for 2 to 3 days)
  2. Strain well
  3. The Ponzu sauce keeps in the refrigerator for 6 months.

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