On this episode of Top Chef, the cheftestants had to make something tasty out of something that looks very unappetizing.
Needless to say, our cheftestants were a bit nervous.
Coincidentally (in my case, at least), the quickfire challenge involved cooking octopus. The chefs had 60 minutes to take an entire octopus and make it a meal - a difficult task on any day, as octopus usually needs to boil for at least 45 minutes. I would have squealed as I did when making octopus here in my place. That, my friends, is why I am not on Top Chef.
In the elimination challenge, the chefs had the pleasure of making a tasty dish out of monkfish. The people who would be judging this dish?
40 ten year olds.
The chefs looked nervous. Tiffani was upset that she was "lowering her standards" to cook for children and noted her disdain for their palates. She then called certain dishes childish.
The group was split into two teams - Team Red and Team Blue. Team Red - the winning Team - consisted of Candice, Cynthia, Miguel, Lisa, and my favorite and yours, Stephen the Sommelier. They were lucky enough to have Cynthia, a mother with two children, on their team. Her knowledge of what children like and don't like to eat won them this challenge. Their menu of Monkfish Corn Dogs (called "Monkey Dogs") with a Mango Ketchup, Fruit Skewers with a vanilla honey dipping sauce, and criss-crossed potato chips was well received by the children. And the children were thrilled to learn that their criss-crossed potato chips were actually called "gaufrettes" by our beloved Stephen (note the sarcasm).
To be honest, I was going to skip this week. I did not know how I was going to make monkfish corndogs, nor did I want to eat them. But then I decided that I took on this challenge for a reason - to challenge myself. So I sighed, headed to the fishmonger (I will use that word whenever I get the chance) and got my monkfish.
2 cups Flour
1 cups cornmeal (fine ground)
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking soda
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs (separated)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 lbs monkfish
Sift first five ingredients in one bowl, in a separate bowl, mix yolks and milk, in another bowl, whip whites to stiff peaks. Mix wet with dry and fold egg whites in mix. Let it sit for 30 minutes in refrigerator.
Clean and ground fish, then make quenelles and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Coat in batter and fry at 350° until golden brown.
Mango Ketchup - Adapted from Bobby Flay
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Pinch Cayenne pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 large mango, peeled, pit removed and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the cinnamon, allspice, cloves and habanero and cook an additional 1 minute. Add the mango and continue cooking until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Place the mango mixture into the bowl of a food processor, add the vinegar and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.