“Indigenous West Coast techniques like grill work and wood-burning suit this part of the world,” says Andrew Richardson, executive chef at Vancouver, B.C.’s CinCin Ristorante + Bar. Its Italian-style cuisine “cautiously bends the rules” of Pacific Northwest fire-cooking traditions that extend back to cedar-plank salmon, he says.
Richardson’s lushly photographed debut cookbook, “CinCin: Wood-Fired Cucina,” reflects the restaurant’s signature wood-oven cooking, emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients. The recipes are calibrated for the home cook and organized by course. While some of the dishes are rousingly complex, these two recipes are simple and versatile.
Whole Roasted Garlic (Garlic Confit)
Makes about 40 cloves
Prep: (not counting time in oven or cooling): 5-10 minutes | Easy
Whole roasted cloves are a key ingredient in the book’s Baba Ganoush (recipe below) but Richardson also suggests the following uses:
Cut off and discard the top portion of the head as shown in photo. Serve garlic as part of an antipasti platter with crostini or bruschetta (toasted or grilled slices of baguette).
With tongs, squeeze garlic purée from cloves onto rustic country-style bread (such as ciabatta), spread purée and then sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Squeeze the purée into mashed potatoes for a “garlic mash” or use to dress pasta.
Make a vinaigrette dressing by adding a small amount of vinegar, salt/pepper and olive oil to the purée. — J.M.
- 6 heads garlic
- About 4 cups (1 L) extra-virgin olive oil, to cover garlic
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
- Clean the garlic of any loose skin or dirt. Trim the root hairs and place the heads in a medium-sized heavy ovenproof sauté pan or saucepan. Cover with the olive oil and add the rosemary and thyme. Place the pan over gentle heat, and warm until the oil just starts to bubble.
- Cover and place in the oven for at least 2 hours, or until you can easily squash the garlic between 2 fingers.
- Cool to room temperature.
You can remove the garlic from the oil to use immediately, or leave the garlic in the oil and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month. To serve from the fridge, simply bring to room temperature and remove from the oil.
Prep: (including cooking in oven): About 1 hour | Average
Equipment: Wood-fired grill or a gas flame
In his cookbook, baba ganoush is just one element of a dish described as “Wood-grilled Alberta lamb rack – tomatoes roasted on the vine – baba ganoush and pesto – polenta alla griglia, lamb sauce.” That’s almost a poem. But this recipe makes about 2 cups, which Richardson says is enough for 3 or 4 servings as a purée to spread on bruschetta served with vegetables or to accompany grilled or roast meat or fish. He suggests pairing with a Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine.
- Globe eggplants give a better yield but if buying longer, slimmer varieties, double the number.
- Heat the oven before starting to cook the eggplants, in case they need to finish in the oven.
- If the eggplants spring back when squeezed, place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until they offer no resistance to the touch.
- Choose an olive oil that is “grassy, milder, with floral notes.”
- 2 cloves Whole Roasted Garlic (taken from a full head)
- 2 globe eggplant
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) tahini (sesame paste)
- 10 tablespoons(150 mL or just over 1-1/2 cups) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) smoked paprika
- Lemon juice to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil, for finishing
- Light a wood-fired barbecue or a gas flame. Place the whole eggplant in the burning coals of the barbecue or, using a pair of tongs, hold the eggplant over the gas flame.
- Cook the eggplant until the outer skin becomes dark and scorched and the centre is tender. If the outer skin is blackened but the centre is still firm, wrap the eggplant in foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and cook until the centre becomes tender.
- Remove from the oven, carefully open the foil and let the eggplant cool enough to be able to peel off the skin. Roughly chop the flesh, then place it in a blender. Add the tahini, olive oil, garlic confit and smoked paprika, and blend until smooth.
- Pass the purée through a tamis or fine-meshed sieve. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Serve at slightly warmer than room temperature, drizzled with olive oil.
Whole Roasted Garlic (Garlic Confit) and Baba Ganoush recipes excerpted from “CinCin: Wood-Fired Cucina” by Andrew Richardson (copyright 2016 by Aquilina Restaurants Limited Partnership), with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved.