Feeling the smell of burning has never been a good sign in the kitchen. Until a few seasons ago. This is the new trendy taste, and the word burnt recurs in the menus. The chefs with starred pedigrees have become "frying pans", but by choice. On the one hand the idea of serving burnt food is a small lexical provocation, on the other it recalls ancestral cooking techniques, real flavors, a return to the origins.
The counter-trend of the vacuum
Bruciato literally means "burned by the fire" and in fact to burn a food you need high temperatures such as those reached with frying, the grill, the embers or the oven. The burnt that goes out of fashion for the avoidance of misunderstanding is not that blackened of a frying in exhausted oil or of a forgotten roast, but that of cooking similar to the BBQ and made with the classic grills with wood, coal or with alternative instruments.
It is the countertrend. For years the Roner, that is the tool that allowed to cook at low temperature under vacuum, occupied the kitchens, because it allowed to reduce errors to the minimum, guaranteeing an always optimal consistency to meat and fish. Once you understood the right relationship between degrees and hours, it was enough to bag everything, set the timer and voila. Very practical and capable of revealing otherwise difficult to obtain textures otherwise, it simply stopped being told. If there is, you cannot see it and above all it is not said. Meanwhile, in today's kitchens, space has been sought for the Green Big Egg, an egg-shaped ceramic barbecue, or the Josper coal-fired oven to be dominated.
We have been warned against the carcinogenic dangers of summer meat grills and high-temperature cooking of food with starch content, such as bread, pizza, potatoes, which allow the formation of acrylamide, a substance considered carcinogenic. The scientific studies have not gone back to the front and the consumption of blackened bread and toasted meat remain a recommended consumption only sporadically. And in any case we have eaten for years, in the name of health, charcoal dough, black as pitch. But here we speak of a barely mentioned burnt which evokes a pleasant caramelized, bitter taste, smoked by the embers. Paradoxically, the use of burnt is found mainly associated with vegetables, such as aubergines and peppers, fruit, such as peaches and lemons, even before being used for meat and fish.
Restaurants in the Top 50
It is not a novelty, at the star-studded restaurant in London the Clove Club, they serve from 2014 whenever the season allows it the dessert Burnt Clementine Granita with Buttermilk Mousse (a burnt clementine filled with citrus and cream granita). Since 1988 the restaurant Asador Etxebarri, in Atxondo, in the Basque Country, cooking everything on the grill, from appetizers to desserts. Coal and wood are personally chosen by chef Victor Arguinzoni and the grills have a system to be approached when needed on the grill. In 2019 it was voted the 3rd best restaurant in the world in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking. In 30th place in the same ranking, Elkano, another asador of the Basque Country.
In Italy, from Camanini to Bottura
Davide Scabin at the Central Market of Turin cooks only with the Green Big Egg and cooks everything: soups, eggs, desserts including the Piedmontese classics with bunet. Fashion has also arrived in Italy by now, percolate from the high levels of culinary creativity to the menus of anonymous trendy places. Among the great, Riccardo Camanini of the Lido 84 of Gardone, he recently dedicated himself to Josper and his Oscillazioni menu sees the term recur. However, it was already a signature the cream of celeriac, burnt almond and carob syrup, or the sweet Crunchy chocolate, chocolate mousse with creme brûlé, burnt at the time.
Massimo Bottura at the Osteria Francescana serves Burnt, an all-black dish with black content in which you can find the flavors of the Romagna Riviera in summer, the grill, the almost burnt Sardinian, the classic Adriatic soup. And we cannot forget the crunchy part of the lasagna, a dish-icon centered precisely on that corner of burnt dough that came out of the pan every Sunday. The burnt flavor is also the amarcord one of home cooking, of the oven, of dishes prepared with love even if imperfect. "A happy woman in love burns the soufflé," says Baron to Audrey Hepburn in the film Sabrina An unhappy woman forgets to turn on the oven.