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Crisp addiction

An old-fashioned fat makes a comeback at the new American Eatery.

Cooking fats, like kitten heels and neon patent leather, fall in and out of fashion. Back in the 1980s, olive oil came on big and kicked butter to the side. More recently, lard found favor in the kitchen, and now, it seems that beef tallow is ready to return to the spotlight. It’s an obvious choice for Erica Holland-Toll, the chef at Prather Ranch’s new American Eatery. With the resources of one of the most respected local producers of sustainable beef at her disposal, using the fat at hand only makes sense. But Holland-Toll is inspired by more than just convenience. Beef tallow is an excellent medium for frying, and the 60/40 blend of rice bran oil and tallow she uses to cook potatoes has quickly made them a signature dish. With a shatteringly crisp surface that holds a creamy core, they remind Holland-Toll of pommes soufflées, classic French potato puffs with a deep, rich flavor that only tallow can bring. While you can’t exactly taste beef, a subtle, savory umami keeps you coming back for more.
Ferry Building Marketplace (Embarcadero at Market St.), S.F., 415-391-0420