We take great pleasure in smothering foods with tasty toppings before slicing them. Our friend Shola, of Studiokitchen fame, put this idea to full on practice while he demonstrated the Kopa Charcoal oven at Star Chefs ICC. (He takes us on a beautiful tour of the oven here.) During his 3 day long coal fired cooking presentation he drew from his creative larder. He pulled out a delicious range of inspiration, from homemade Calabrian chilis in really good olive oil to nasturtium leaf salsa verde. He seasoned and slathered ingredients from onions to steaks to giant shrimp. Then he cooked them in the oven. As he pulled the ingredients out onto cutting boards and plates to rest he added some more and secondary slathers. He tossed, mixed and sliced the ingredients and served them family style on boards in front of the his workhorse oven. The flavors mingled. The juices mixed. The combination of simple ingredients, smart cooking and a flavorful pantry created a magical tasting experience.
It is imperative that we look and pursue the simple combination of powerful flavors and integrating them throughout our cooking process. Charcoal grilled anything is most certainly delicious. The slathering and seasoning before during and after the cooking transforms the simple to sensational.