I can’t take credit for it. I can’t take credit for most of the recipes on this blog. I’m not a chef. While this blog is about food and while Martha might consider me a poser, it’s also about life – real life. The messy, truthful kind that doesn’t always involve prim and proper statements or fully polished pictures.
If you’re smart, you’ll already have this recipe simmering away on the stove. Actually, hold the phone. I’ll wait. Get your butt to the store and get this baby going. You can thank me in an hour and half or so.
Like I was saying, this recipe comes from St. Louis. It comes from a dinner with my sister and brother-in-law – a special dinner at a small local joint called Home Wine Kitchen.
Sabrina and Doug held onto a gift card to Home for almost a year. They were saving it for dinner with me because they knew how smitten we would all be with the place.
We went. We ate. We drank. We laughed. We ate some more. One of the dishes was something I would have never thought to order. It was a side dish Doug insisted we get. When it came I thanked Doug. I thanked the waitress. I sent my thanks back to the kitchen. I thought about smearing myself with the contents of that bowl.
It gave me breath so potent I could have sobered up a drunk. I didn’t care. I still don’t. Which is good because I now make it frequently. The folks at Home Wine Kitchen were so generous they let me leave with a photocopy of the recipe. Be warned, this is addicting.
By Chef Cassy Vires
Chef Vires adapted this recipe from her Onion Confit recipe. In fact, when the waitress gave it to me, she gave me the Onion Confit recipe and told me to swap peeled garlic cloves for the cipollini onions.
What follows is how I made the recipe based on Chef Vires’ instructions. The finished product is a tad different than what she served. Mainly, the garlic is softer and more butter like. I prefer it that way. If you’d rather your garlic to have a bit of a bite, simmer it uncovered.
¼ cup pine nuts
3 TBS olive oil
12 ounces whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup medium sherry
¾ cup water
2 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS sugar
1 cup currants
Using a small fry pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat for 3 – 5 minutes, shaking the pan to keep them from burning. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil in fry pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes without browning. Add the sherry and cook until mostly reduced. Add ¾ cup water, vinegar, sugar, currants, salt and pine nuts. Stir well. Cover mixture and simmer over the lowest possible heat for 1.5 – 2 hours, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes.
As mixture becomes thick and gooey, add more water to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Dish will be finished when garlic is caramelized to a deep amber color.
Serve warm, at room temperature or cool. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Home Wine Kitchen served this dish as is – a bowl full of garlic, pine nuts and currants. That’s not a bad way to go But, I really like it spread on crusty bread. I’ve also blended it into butter for topping steaks.