Edit ModuleShow Tags

Ann Kim on Cooking with Fire


Photo by Joy Summers

This post is presented by Wüsthof Wusthof

A fire possesses a mesmerizing power. Standing before the yellow and red flames as they lap against logs of wood, slowly turning them from brown to gray and black char, it’s impossible to tear your gaze away, especially when the winter temperatures turn cold. Fire does more than just warm and fuel the long, dark nights. It is also an excellent way to cook food.

Ann Kim, the Mäverick, knows this better than most others. Inside her Minneapolis restaurant, Pizzeria Lola, customers flock not only for her perfectly char-kissed pizzas, but for the dancing flames that drawn the eye and warm cold toes. Cooking with open flame, however, is not for the faint of heart. “It’s really about a willingness to experiment,” says Kim. “It takes time to develop the muscle memory. You can’t change the temperature with flames. However, once you figure it out, it’s one of my favorite ways to cook food. The key is to keep your eye on it. You can’t walk away.”

Deciding what and how to cook with fire is also a matter of taste. “It’s like roasting the perfect campfire marshmallow. Some want the char of the flame while others prefer the golden melt of the coals. Figure out what you want and then you can figure out how to get there,” says Kim.

Kim loves to roast vegetables using her blade of choice, WÜSTHOF CLASSIC 8" Vegetable Knife. The cauliflower she serves at Lola or the Brussels sprouts, both have converted eaters who swore they hated the veggies in question. To boost the flavors, Kim hits them with a touch of acid before serving. The Brussels get a dose of sherry vinegar for tartness and a bit of sweetness. The cauliflower is seasoned with lemon juice and chilies. “I love heat,” she said. “The kick of fresh chili with the finish of citrus zest—there’s nothing better.”

When approaching a meat and flame, it is key to consider the shape and size of the cut. A whole roast chicken would be difficult to handle over a flame, but shove a cast iron skillet filled with fatty, pork sausages into a fire and brace for a captivating sizzle. “Koreans love that char on meat, like Korean-style short ribs. We pre-cook ours at the restaurant before using them as a pizza topping,” says Kim. The thin, smaller pieces of meat are easy to tend to, cooking all the way through with just a bit of that dark crispy, fire-kissed flavor.

“Once you’ve mastered this technique, you feel really cave woman-y. It’s visceral. That’s why I decided to open a wood-fired pizzeria. I fell in love with the flame. It’s pretty. It’s sexy and it’s also pretty quick. People love to sit around the bar and watch their food cook.”

Try Kim’s recipe for cauliflower.

Get to know The Mäverick:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Lawless Distilling Bartender Named "Most Imaginative"

Minneapolis bartender Brandon Sass won the 12th Annual Most Imaginative Bartender regional competition

Toast the Royal Wedding with British-Gin Cocktails

As Britain’s Prince Harry and U.S.-actress Megan Markle tie the knot, raise a glass to the happy couple—and those close to you—with wedding-themed tipples

Bottoms-Up Cinnamon Caramel Pinwheels Recipe

With this fast version of a sticky bun, baking at home can be no muss, no fuss—and delicious

Leslie Bock's Newest Bar Wants to Save the Future

"We're attempting to show humans as messy and complicated."

Rosé All Day: The Best Tastings (Some Free)

More than 100 different rosé wines available to try—many for free

Wine Clubs: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Sip Better figures out your taste for wine and goes deep

Gavin Kaysen Takes Midwest Gold

A quick note on our 2018 James Beard Best Chef: Midwest

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs Recipe

Get fired up for grilling season with tender, flavorful chicken kebabs by meat guru Bruce Aidells and a marinade that also works well with other proteins
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags