cooks at home

A MEATY MATTER

Sierra Meat & Seafood family welcomes new partnership.

WRITTEN BY SANDRA MACIAS
PHOTOS BY CANDICE VIVIEN

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Chris Flocchini, president and chief executive officer of Sierra Meat & Seafood in Reno,
and his wife, Joanne, prepare a marinade for a salmon recipe in their Reno home

In 1986, an Italian family from California took a gamble on Reno. The Flocchinis — with three generations of meat-industry acumen behind them — bought Sierra Meat Co. (the official name, when it was founded in 1948). The gamble paid off. Now Sierra Meat & Seafood, the family-owned-and-operated company, has grown to an impressive size that belies its roots.

“We went from a very small facility with old-school ways of doing things,” says Chris Flocchini, president and chief executive officer, “to a 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility with computers, millions of dollars of machines to cut steaks and other meat, and a footprint of doing business all over the country.”

The family’s business relationships even extend across the Pacific, with products shipping to Hawaii and Guam.

But late last year, the Flocchinis made a historic decision. After three decades as a family business, Sierra Meat & Seafood’s owners brought on a partner, Tricor Founders from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a food-based holding company owned by three families. Flocchini is pleased with the change.

“Ours is a tough business to keep the generations going,” Flocchini says. “Our partner has experience in running food companies. They own two chocolate companies, a manufacturer of ready-to-eat meals and salads, and a seafood company as well. This partnership will help us grow our business.”

Taking a partner doesn’t diminish Sierra Meat’s stature as a family-owned business. Nor does it erase an illustrious family history that started with Flocchini’s grandfather, Armando, who, in the early 1930s, bought the Durham Meat Co. in San Francisco, where he worked as a butcher.

“My grandfather, who emigrated from Italy, borrowed the money from his mother-in-law to buy the company,” Flocchini says. “My grandmother is still alive — she’s 105.”

She got her money back, too. Armando Flocchini Sr.’s meat business flourished in the Bay Area, with his sons, Bud and Rich, working with him before the third generation joined the ranks. Today the family ties, from fathers and siblings to uncles and cousins, continue — and strengthen — with the new partnership.  

Cooking with the Flocchinis

While business deals are important, there is another side to the Sierra Meat family. Though they work together daily, in their off time they celebrate at the family table. If you ask Flocchini who cooks in the family, he will reply enthusiastically, “We all do!” But he refers to his wife, Joanne (who also is the company’s director of corporate giving) as the “great cook, better than me.”

Joanne confirms she loves to cook, especially when she has a great source in Sierra Meat.

“I have all the meat and seafood at my fingertips,” she says.

When planning dinners, she likes to “mix it up,” serving, for example, fish today, steak tomorrow, and pasta maybe Friday.

“And the kids love Asian food,” she says, so another night will star sushi.

Joanne, a mom of two busy teenagers, likes meals that are healthy but quick to prepare. For a recent quick-and-easy weekend dinner, she prepared salmon with a miso glaze and Asian skirt steak.

By marinating the skirt steak in a tasty soy sauce the night before, the dish was ready for the barbecue. The miso sauce for the salmon, whipped up effortlessly, coated the salmon that would slip into the oven about the same time as the skirt steak hit the fire.

The rice cooker steamed away while Joanne tossed together a snap pea salad.

“This is so easy,” she says. “Throw the snap peas in a bowl, sprinkle sesame oil on them, add black sesame salt, and finish with the secret ingredient, truffle salt. You’re done.”

With prepping ahead of time, dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes — even their west highland terrier, Mochi, got his dinner on time. You can’t beat that.

Sandra Macias, who has covered Reno’s food scene for umpteen years, is embarrassed to say she didn’t know Sierra Meat & Seafood sold retail. Now that she does, she is scanning its products. Fresh fish, USDA choice steaks, and Berkshire pork (the Tesla of pork) all sound good. What’s for dinner tonight?

Resouces

Did you know Reno-Tahoe residents can buy in quantity directly from Sierra Meat & Seafood? It’s an ideal option for those planning special gatherings or just looking to fill their freezers. For details, visit Sierrameat.com, click on the products tab, and discover everything from prime rib to wild boar. For same-day orders, allow a minimum of two hours before picking up. Order deadline for same-day pickup is 1:30 p.m., and orders must be picked up by 3:30 p.m. 

Sierra Meat & Seafood

1330 Capital Blvd., Ste. A, Reno • 775-322-4073 or toll-free 800-444-5687 • Sierrameat.com

Open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mon. – Fri.

Recipes

Miso-Glazed Salmon
(courtesy of Joanne Flocchini, director of corporate giving, Sierra Meat & Seafood in Reno. Serves 4)

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Miso, a fermented soybean paste, is a basic flavoring in Japanese cooking. It is available in Asian markets and supermarkets.

1½ pounds salmon filet (about 6 ounces each)
¼ cup mirin
¼ cup sake or vodka
3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
1 tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

Combine the mirin and sake (or vodka) in small saucepan, bringing to a boil over high heat. Boil 20 seconds, taking care not to boil off liquid. Turn heat to low and stir in miso and sugar. Whisk over medium heat, without mixture boiling, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in soy sauce and dark sesame oil. Allow to cool. Pour glaze into wide glass or stainless-steel bowl or baking dish.

Pat fish filets dry and brush each side with glaze, then place them in bowl or dish, turning a few times in marinade. Cover with plastic wrap; marinate for 2 to 3 hours in refrigerator.

Heat oven to between 375 and 400 degrees F. Spray oil on bottom of baking dish that will accommodate the fish. Place in hot oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. If top of fish isn’t browned, set under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to bubble glaze. Watch that it doesn’t burn.

Asian Skirt Steak
(courtesy of Joanne Flocchini, director of corporate giving, Sierra Meat & Seafood in Reno. Serves 4)

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1½ to 2 pounds skirt steak
Juice from half an orange
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced

Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl. Cut meat into 4 equal sizes and place them in zip-lock bag large enough to hold them. Pour marinade into bag and seal. Marinate steak at least 2 hours or overnight. Use hot grill: For charcoal grilling, cook 7 to 12 minutes for medium rare; for gas grilling, cook 8 to 12 minutes for medium rare.

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