GINNY GRANT BRINGS DEEP, SMOKY FLAVOUR TO VEGETABLE-BASED SIDES.
Ginny Grant brings smoky flavour to vegetable dishes
THE AROMA OF SMOKE is one I find very appealing. When I cook outdoors, I generally use a charcoal kettle that uses lump hardwood charcoal, although after watching Cuisine Good Food Awards 2017 chef of the year Ed Verner in action at Auckland restaurant Pasture, I have been experimenting with compressed charcoal logs that burn longer and slower (I use the Ezilite brand from commoditiesnz.co.nz). Mostly I cook using indirect heat, keeping the coals at two sides of the kettle and cooking in the middle, although if I’m cooking fast, then I pile the coals into the middle. I add smoke with wood – sometimes small pruned branches from the grape vine or fig tree, at other times it may be woodchips or chunks. I tend to soak the woodchips for 30 minutes or so before draining and using, but I add the chunks as they are. In both cases I place them straight onto the hot embers. If you have a gas barbecue with a hood, try using a smoke box for the woodchips (you can also fashion your own one out of a foil tray, adding pre-soaked woodchips, covering with foil, and punching a few holes in the top). While it’s easy to think of ways to cook like this with meat, I’m increasingly interested in the depth of flavour that can be achieved with vegetables. Most of these dishes are intended as side dishes.