Three bold home-style recipes from cult Canadian chef Matty Matheson

If your caesar salad dressing doesn't burn your tongue, it's not good, and that's a fact.
If your caesar salad dressing doesn't burn your tongue, it's not good, and that's a fact.  Photo: Abrams

He's the bad-boy Canadian chef who traded his partying ways for life on a farm as a father of three.

Matty Matheson's eponymous debut cookbook told the story of his culinary journey, and became a bestseller known for epic recipes inspired by his youth and restaurant life.

Now the Viceland presenter and social media star has returned with his second collection, Home Style Cookery, which includes 135 full-flavoured yet approachable recipes to cook at home for family and friends.

Matty Matheson's new cookbook.
Matty Matheson's new cookbook. Photo: Abrams

The book is Matheson's definitive guide to mastering your kitchen, covering everything from party favourites to pantry staples to mid-week go-tos.

"I want to share home cookery with you so you can cook for the people you love. That's it," he writes.

Here are three recipes to help build your self-confidence through sharing food.

Burn-your-tongue caesar salad

If your caesar salad dressing doesn't burn your tongue, it's not good, and that's a fact. There needs to be enough garlic to burn your tongue, so if my recipe doesn't do it or you have a higher garlic burn-tongue ratio, then add more and add just enough anchovy. That's the key: burn-your- tongue garlic and just enough anchovy. I guess I'm trying to mess up your first dates or your kids' breath. Now mixing lettuce with this kind of dressing is no joke – you need to add it little by little to make sure you're not overdressing because with a burn-your-tongue dressing, going over the line can destroy this whole process. It's not about really f---ing up your shit, it's just supposed to hit and punch up a mundane caesar salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
  • salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (75ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp finely grated parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 slices (100g) of your favourite bread
  • ¼ cup (60ml) melted butter
  • 450g cos lettuce hearts, cut in half
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METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 155C fan-forced (175C conventional).
  2. On a cutting board, chop together the anchovy fillets, garlic, and a dash of salt. Use the side of your knife to mash the mixture into a paste. Scrape the paste into a medium bowl. Add the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Slowly add the olive oil, drip by drip, until fully incorporated, then do the same with the vegetable oil. Whisk until the dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in the cheese, adjusting the consistency with water, and season with salt and more pepper if needed. Add the lemon juice.
  3. For the croutons, tear the bread slices into medium pieces, toss them in melted butter, then toast in the oven until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, gently toss the lettuce using your hands, adding the dressing a couple spoonfuls at a time until you reach your desired amount. Give the lettuce a taste to check for seasoning. Start building your salad on a large flat plate, putting the halved romaine hearts down. Then, throw some croutons on there. Keep going until you have a mountain of salad. Top with more cheese until fully covered.

Serves 2 to 4

One-hour bolognese

As I'm writing this, I'm really feeling how fast you can make great meals around quick pasta, and this one is fast and easy and will make you look like you spent all day working the stoves. Bolognese is a house-to-house dish: every person in every town in Italy has a ragu, sugo, or bolo, and this is my fast and easy one-hour take. You could make it a few different ways, but one thing you should keep constant is that it should be saucy, like sludge in the best kind of way. Using carrot, onion, garlic, tomato paste, beef stock, and browned beef and finishing with milk and egg yolks is my favourite. Use any noodle you love – tagliatelle, pappardelle, bucatini, penne, gnocchi – or serve it on warm buttery and cheesy polenta.

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, cloves sliced
  • ½ cup (120ml) olive oil
  • 900g ground beef
  • ¼ cup (60ml) tomato paste
  • 2 litres beef stock
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • salt
  • 360g dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup (100g) grated parmesan

METHOD

  1. In a medium Dutch oven or heavy-based saucepan, combine the carrot, onion, garlic, and olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent but the vegetables do not take on colour, about 12 minutes. Add the ground beef, stir to work it up (but do not brown it), and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef stock and reduce until sludgy and emulsified. Add the milk, reduce for 5 minutes, then add the egg yolks and stir until glossy. Add the pepper and season with salt.
  2. Fill a large saucepan with heavily salted water; bring to a boil. Throw in the spaghetti and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Strain in a colander, reserving ½ cup (125ml) of the pasta water.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pot of bolognese and stir until the spaghetti is coated in sauce. Adjust the consistency as needed using the reserved pasta water. Using tongs, twirl one-quarter of the noodles into a tight bundle and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat 3 more times to make 4 servings. Spoon the remaining sauce evenly onto the plates. Sprinkle with the cheese and boom. ONE-HOUR BOLO!

Serves 4

Joanie's chocolate zucchini cake

Growing up, my mom made a lot of desserts, but this one always stuck out for me because it was, like, designed to torture children. First off, you can't even taste the zucchini, really, so why the hell is it even in there? A chocolate cake filled with vegetables is a kid's nightmare – like, what's going on, is the world ending? It was the one cake I'd always say no to, and then five minutes later I'd crawl onto the counter and steal a piece and act like no one heard me earlier. I guess I really hated vegetables. It's funny, my son, Mac, loves chocolate like most kids and hates eating vegetables right now. He's almost four, and last night, he ate some of the salad we made for dinner, and he ate it pretty quick 'cause I told him if he eats all his dinner including his salad he'll get some chocolate ice-cream. I know bribing your kids with sweets is horrible, but what's the worst that can happen? Will he turn out to be a serial killer 'cause he got ice-cream for eating his salad? I guess we'll keep watching the news and see.

INGREDIENTS

  • baking spray
  • 1⅔ cups (240g) plain flour
  • ¾ cup (225g) high-quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp (28g) espresso powder
  • ½ cup (120g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (120g) melted and cooled coconut oil
  • 1¾ cups (350g) castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup (75ml) plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1½ heaped cups (215g) shredded zucchini
  • ⅓ cup (80g) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup (75g) chopped 70 per cent dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup (75ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt, for sprinkling

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 145C fan-forced (165C conventional). Grease a 25 cm round cake tin with baking spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth again. With the mixer on low, alternate adding yoghurt and the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips with a spatula and spoon the batter into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Just be aware that there are melted chocolate chips and you might hit one. Pull the cake from oven, let cool for a minute, then take the cake out of its tin and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  5. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a large metal bowl. Heat the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a light simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand, untouched, for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
  6. Pour all the ganache over the cooled cake and let drip off the sides for a rustic look. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Makes 1 25cm cake

This is an edited extract from Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery, by Matty Matheson, published by Abrams, RRP $49.99. Buy now