Friday, February 3, 2012
50 Women Game Changers in Food - #33 Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton - Canal House Roasted Tomatoes Studded with Garlic
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Canal House Cooking is a series of seasonal cookbooks created for the home cook by the food writing and photography team of Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. In 2006, the two women opened Canal House as a photo and design studio for cookbooks and magazines. They had known each other for years before forming the partnership. Melissa Hamilton, a chef, had been the director of the test kitchen at Saveur magazine where Christopher Hirsheimer was a founding editor and photographer. Their food is a fusion of European country classics and American regional favorites which, while easy enough to do, is designed to be interesting and capture the eye and imaginations of their readers. Their recipes reflect Hamilton's French heritage and Hirsheimer's California background. Both women have traveled extensively and have impressive culinary backgrounds. Their vision includes three publications a year and they have been able to make their self-published concept work by doing most of the work themselves. Each of their publications contains about 75 recipes which they develop, test and photograph on their own. That has helped preserve the homespun but edgy quality they wanted their magazines to have. Together they share position 33 on the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food.
I selected a really simple recipe to highlight the type of cooking that the women do. As you scan through the recipe, you'll see a fairly standard list of ingredients for a simple pasta sauce. What is different, however, is the way the dish is prepared and presented. The idea here is to give everyone a flavorful roasted tomato that can be mashed over a serving of pasta, effectively creating a sauce meant for one. It works fairly well, especially when first served and piping hot. I thought the crumbs became gummy and less pleasant as the sauce cooled. The recipe is novel, at least to me, and I think those of you who enjoy something different for a change, might really like this. Here's the recipe.
Canal House Roasted Tomatoes Studded with Garlic on a Bed of Pasta
1/2 cup diced pancetta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off, seeds scooped out (use your fingers)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Small handful fresh thyme, parsley, or basil leaves, chopped (I used a combination of all 3)
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound spaghetti
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp around edges. Use a slotted spatula to lift pancetta out of skillet to a plate. Leave rendered fat in skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and anchovies to skillet. Use a wooden spoon to mash anchovies until they dissolve. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring often,until they are golden.
2) Put tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish and slip some garlic into each tomato. Mound some bread crumbs into each tomato and scatter pancetta and herbs on top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle remaining 4 tablespoons of oil over all. Roast tomatoes in the oven until they have browned a bit and interior is supple but tomatoes have not collapsed, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
3) Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain. Return pasta to pot and stir in some olive oil and some of the oily tomato juices from the bottom of the tomato roasting dish.
4) Serve spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and their juices spooned on top. Yield: 4 servings.
The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton today. I hope you'll pay them all a visit. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.
Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden, Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Kathleen - Bake Away with Me, Sue - The View from Great Island Barbara - Movable Feasts , Linda A - There and Back Again, Nancy - Picadillo
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Annie - Most Lovely Things, Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table, Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Ella Brennan. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Monday, February 6th.