Adam Richman shares his 'Secret Eats' and celebrates a new GetGo Cafe
Adam Richman has an appetite for adventure.
As the host of Cooking Channel's “Secret Eats with Adam Richman,” he travels the country and the world on a mission to uncover the most unique and surprising food treasures – but not always the most delicious, he points out.
The hands-down worst food he's eaten was in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he tried Hákarl, an Icelandic traditional dish of “fermented rotten shark” so foul-smelling and tasting that it had to be washed down with liquor.
“It was the weirdest thing. I just couldn't bring myself to eat it,” he says, joking that “It's just wrong. I want the United Nations to get involved” to stop its production.
The culinary traveler from Brooklyn, N.Y., is looking forward to a visit on April 19 to Pittsburgh, one of his favorite cities where he's filmed segments for his former Travel Channel shows, “Man vs. Food,” and his “Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America” series that showcased Primanti Brothers restaurant.
This time around, he'll be helping to celebrate the grand opening of the Edgewood GetGo Cafe + Market at Edgewood Town Center.
The celebrity cook will judge a friendly sub sandwich-making competition between Swissvale and Edgewood police departments and participate in a ceremonial 12- foot-long sub cutting (instead of a ribbon cutting).
The event will benefit Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, which will receive a portion of all in-store sales up to $10,000 from April 18-22, according to GetGo promoters. The public is welcome to attend and compete in games for chances to win prizes and giveaways.
“I have a lot of love for the town for multiple reasons,” Richman says about Pittsburgh. “I'm sure other people have said it, but it's the only city that truly has a front door – when you come through that tunnel.”
He's also a fan of the food scene, of course, in addition to the Warhol Museum, the city's architecture and the Strip District, where “the Saturday market is something to behold. I have friends from Pittsburgh living in New York and I always bring them an Iron City Beer or a Yinzer T-shirt.”
Richman credits his family for instilling in him a love of cuisine from various cultures. He says he connects with the melding of different ethnic groups that is part of the “Pittsburgh vibe” that is similar to his Brooklyn neighborhood.
“We grew up ‘color blind,'” he says. “Moms would be talking on the playground, sharing recipes for Syrian, Mandarin Chinese and Italian foods. My mom and dad are both good cooks and my aunt who lived upstairs taught me my first recipe, for cheese omelet.”
In upcoming episodes of “Secret Eats with Adam Richman,” he shares his culinary adventures in Manila, where he tasted ostrich salpicao and a 12-course lechon dinner; in Mexico City, where he was served lamb barbacoa cooked underground in a restaurant hidden in an ancient cave; and in San Francisco, where he tried “a decadent burger/pâté hangover cure.”
He's already working on compiling recipes for his next cookbook, his “dream project” that will feature recipes that kids can make with their parents.
“There's something special about passing on culinary recipes to kids,” he says. “You learn to appreciate creativity, sharing of food, and the almost spiritual aspect of inviting someone into your home and sharing a dish.
“We all can't dunk a basketball like Kobe Bryant, drive a race car like Lewis Hamilton or throw a football like Ben Roethlisberger – but eating, cooking and baking are skills that moms, dads and kids all over the world can do.”
Richman shares this easy-to-make recipe from his latest cookbook, “Straight Up Tasty: Meals, Memories and Mouthfuls from My Travels (Clarkson Potter).”
French Farmhouse-Style Simple Roasted Chicken
This recipe was inspired by someone Richman's mother dated a long time ago who was from the Dordogne region in the hinterlands between France, Germany and Switzerland. He shared his mother's philosophy that a good cook can make a wonderful roast chicken without a ton of ingredients and can keep the skin nice and crispy without sacrificing the moistness of the meat. This version is proof that if you stick to the basics and really focus on preparation, you don't need fancy sauces to make a truly delicious and hearty classic dish.
1 whole free-range, organic chicken (about 3 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 Meyer lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Wash the chicken and thoroughly dry it with paper towels. Using kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken by cutting up the back on one side of the backbone and then cutting up the back on the other side. Discard the backbone. Season the chicken with the herbes de Provence, salt and black pepper.
3. Place the chicken, skin side up, in a Dutch oven. Drizzle 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil over the bird. Place the pan in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 35 minutes.
4. While the chicken is roasting, in a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and cilantro. Stir to combine.
5. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover it with the seasoned olive oil and herbs, then return it to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices from the thigh run clear or it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F, as measure by a meat thermometer.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest, freshly grated
2 cups whole-milk ricotta
6 extra-large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
Pure maple syrup
1. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Add the ricotta, egg yolks and salt to the bowl. Whisk until combined. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they form medium-firm peaks, about 3 minutes.
3. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture. Be gentle! Don't stir!
4. Lightly coat a 10-inch skillet with nonstick cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. Pour in about ¼ cup of pancake batter.
5. When the batter has small bubbles all over the surface, after approximately 2 to 3 minutes, flip the pancake with a spatula. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pancake from the pan and keep it warm on a plate under a clean towel. Continue making pancakes until you've used all of the batter.
6. Serve warm with the syrup.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.