Most people think of meat or pizza when they think of wood-fired ovens, but at Vancouver's CinCin Ristoranted and Bar, a wood-fired Italian cucina, the method of cooking is used right down to its garnishes to bring layers of smokiness to its various dishes. In this dish, chef Andrew Richardson puts onions into the fire to serve alongside its beef tenderloin. The ash-roasted onions takes two hours to roast, and can be prepared up to a week in advance. He also advises preparing the salmoriglio the day before and the potato gratin on serving day or the day before.
At home, reach for a cabernet sauvignon in a pinch to go well with the dish. At the restaurant, order the Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 for a great match.
The ideal preparation is to use a previous fire or barbecue. As the firewood or coals burn, throw the whole onions in the bed of the fire/coals with their skins on. Cook the onions in the coals until nicely charred and tender, about 2 hours. Reserve until ready to serve.
You can also roast the onions whole in the oven, but then you lose the most important flavours of this dish.
Can be kept in the fridge for a week.
In a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the water and salt and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool.
In a medium nonreactive bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, oregano and chili flakes. Whisk in the vinegar and the lemon juice, followed by the olive oil, then the cooled salted water.
Potato, prosciutto and Parmesan gratin
In a small saucepan over low heat, add cream, the thyme and garlic. Warm and allow the flavours to infuse for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450° F.
Butter 4 6" small ovenproof dishes.
Start with a layer of potatoes in the base of the dish, then a layer of prosciutto, then a sprinkling of Parmesan. Repeat until you have 3 layers of potato and 2 layers of prosciutto, finishing with potato and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Strain the infused cream over the gratin, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, or until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife.
Remove the foil and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
Put the chicken bones or wings into a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot. Cover with twice as much cold water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any scum or foam from the surface.
Add the vegetables, garlic, bouquet garni and clove, and return to a boil. Skim again and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 3 hours.
Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth, discarding the vegetables and bones.
Keeps up to 4 days in the fridge in a sealed container, or can be frozen.
On serving day, light a wood-fired barbecue, or preheat a gas or charcoal grill or cast-iron grill pan for the onions and the beef.
To grill the roasted onions, remove the outer skin and tough outer layers. Quarter the onions, liberally dress with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until nicely charred and coloured. Keep warm.
Reheat the gratin, if it’s not still hot.
Put a medium pot of salted water on to boil over high heat, and have ready a large bowl of ice water.
Strip the collard greens from their stems, reserving the stems. Cut each stem and leaf half in 2 (or more if they are very big pieces). Blanch in the boiling water for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Refresh in the ice bath. Drain and pat dry.
Season the beef with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on the preheated grill, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn again and cook for 2 minutes. Turn again and cook for a further 2 minutes. (The total cooking time is 14 minutes.) Let it rest for at least 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan, sauté the collard greens in olive oil with the garlic, a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Immediately add the chicken stock, and cook on high heat until the stock has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, place each steak on a plate along with some onion, collards and a spoonful of the gratin. Dress with the salmoriglio. Add a drizzle of olive oil and serve.