Ghoulish food for Grownups

30 Oct

We have to brag about our talented friend Pierre, whose book, Kitchen Scraps, is amazing. Long before he became a chef and author, Pierre helped us kick a few ideas around for our own Halloween food feature, listed below.

Here are Pierre’s very elegant Halloween recipes:
VAMPIRE SLAYER’S GARLIC-LACED CHICKEN
6 heads of garlic, a glug of olive oil, and salt for roasting

2 free-range chicken breasts, skin-on

salt and pepper to season chicken

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 shallot, minced

1 glass of white wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper for sauce

small handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 sprig of tarragon, leaves only, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Roast garlic. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Trim off the pointy top to expose the cloves. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap it in foil, and blap it in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Set aside to cool while you prepare the chicken. When cool, squeeze out the cloves. 

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

Get a large ovenproof frying pan (all metal, no plastic) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, dribble in the oil, place the chicken breasts skin side down, and just leave it to let the skin get golden and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Flip the chicken and immediately transfer the pan to the oven to roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Prep the rest of the ingredients, which are for the sauce, including squeezing out all the cloves of roasted garlic into a bowl and picking out the stray bits of papery garlic skin.

When the chicken is done, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate to rest. Using an oven mitt, get the pan back on the stove over high heat to start making the sauce. (Be careful as the handle will stay hot for a long time.) Add the butter to the residual chicken fat and quickly sweat the shallots until translucent.

Add the white wine and cook until the boozy smell evaporates. Add the roasted garlic and roughly mush with a fork to incorporate it with the sauce. Pour in the heavy cream, along with juices from the plate where the chicken is resting, and reduce to thicken the sauce. Remove it from the heat, adjust the flavour with salt and pepper to taste, and finish by mixing in the herbs right before you spoon it generously over the plated chicken.

Serve with big chunks of baguette to sop up the sloppy sauce or simple boiled potatoes.

Will slay the hunger of 2 hungry slayers.

This is our own blast from Halloween past:

Tapenade on Toast Points

Zesty Green Salad with Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Orange Segments and Pomegranate Seeds

Black Pasta Nests with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Heart of Darkness Molten Cakes

For the gothic gourmet, Halloween holds much more than jack-o’-lantern cheese squares grinning up from hamburger patties.

There are many books and countless websites devoted to revolting hobgoblin fare. Worm and dirt spaghetti, brain Jell-O and witchy chicken fingers dipped in ketchup blood are macabre mainstays for wee ghosts and goblins.

For the rest of us, it’s easy to grow weary of last-minute costumes thrown together for keg-fuelled kitchen parties. Somewhere along the way, we’ve outgrown the buffet table gore of hard-boiled egg eyeballs and kitty litter cake.

For those who still adore the night of the undead, there are grown-up ways to celebrate the spirit of the occasion.

This year, it’s time for a sophisticated Halloween howler; a dinner party that’s light on dollar store gags and dripping with so much style, it’s scary.

Halloween menus aspire to reach festive heights, but disappointingly turn out to be average weekday food decorated with spider cutouts or disguised in gross-out names — hence Vomit Vinegarette or any ground beef casserole with olives from a can.

For a cupcake- and candy-fuelled holiday eaten up by kids, the real essence of Halloween is decidedly grown up and nightmarish. You’d better have a drink.

The menu here is representative of the true, dark spirit of Halloween. How better to ward off vampires than by serving chicken with 40 cloves of garlic? Black pasta with pumpkin seed pesto can only be truly appreciated on Oct. 31.

With planning and advance preparation, this Halloween dinner can be dead easy. Heart of Darkness Molten Cakes and Pumpkin Seed Pesto can be prepared days in advance. Store-bought tapenade cuts another corner.

Paired with classic horror films, such as Night of the Living Dead or The Shining, and morning-after garlic breath, this is sure to be one scary night.

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