A piece in this past weekend’s Journal highlights a trend we mentioned in our Fall Trend Watch for S.F., namely the use of hearths and embers in restaurant cooking. They talk with chef Russell Moore at Oakland’s Camino restaurant, the focal point of which is a nine-by-four-foot hearth along the back wall where Moore cooks 90 percent of the restaurant’s dishes. Logs are fed into the center basket, and the resulting embers spill out the bottom and under several grills — Moore also cooks some things like eggplant directly in the embers, much like Joshua Skenes does with root vegetables at Saison. But then the Journal takes things one step further with a diagram of how you, too, can start cooking in your fireplace.
Using multiple Journal-style, black-and-white illustrations, they offer a guide to setting up a mini rotisserie using a pair of bricks in front of your Duraflame or wood-burning hearth that you can then use to cook some lamb kabobs over the embers. They recommend fruit woods, for added flavor, and avoiding chicken if you don’t want to clog up your chimney. The result, they say rather poetically, is a portal to “that primordial place that lies just beyond the realm of words.”
We see this how-to as fraught with potential for Christmas Eve disasters, but that’s just us.