Please forgive the photo. This is the first of what will be many photos with my iPhone, as my camera is in ICU and I do not have a point-and-shoot.
So I messed up. Big time.
This past week's Top Chef challenge asked the cheftestants to take classic dishes and deconstruct them. I love deconstruction, and I was so excited to make whichever dish won. Except for the one that actually won. I've never had mole` (pronouced mo-lay), and I'm wasn't even sure what it was supposed to taste like. All I know is that mole` looks like poop on a plate.
I went on to the Bravo TV Recipe Finder and typed in Mole`. I found Kevin's (the winner) mole` dish and went shopping for the ingredients. Dried figs, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened chocolate, black raisins, watermelon, bananas, dried ancho chiles, pumpkin seeds, duck... you get the gist. I had to go to three stores to find duck breast.
Jack and I were having a friend over for dinner, so Jack suggested that I make this. I was a bit nervous, as I did not know whether or not said friend would enjoy this dish. Although he has a fantastic palate and a taste for find foods, I was pretty sure that he wouldn't know what mole` was. Point in fact: Jack emailed him, saying that "Teanna is going to make a chicken mole dish from Top Chef." , when he got to my apartment, he asked "So what is chicken mole?" (pronounced mole - like Cindy Crawford).
It didn't matter, though, because I didn't even end up making the dish. I had started to make the mole, which was above and beyond easy. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 40 minutes. Blend. Done.
Jack sat down on the couch and asked "So, how are you going to plate it?"
"Well," I said confidently, "I will spread the mole` on the bottom of the plate, top it with the duck, then the tequila marinated watermelon, then sliced avocado, then sprinkle on some pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and then some cilantro for garnish."
"No," Jack said. "That's not what it looked like on the show. They were all separated on the plate."
"I know, it is weird. The presentation isn't very deconstructed to me. But that is what it looks like in the picture."
"Are you sure it wasn't the mole` he made the week before?" Jack inquired.
I paused for a long time. "He made mole` the week before?" I asked, afraid to hear the answer. I hadn't really paid attention to the previous week's episode.
"Yes." he began, "It wasn't very good."
I grabbed the remote and turned on my television. I went to my DVR list, pulled up the previous episode of Top Chef. And lo and behold, it was the wrong dish. I cursed myself. I scrambled on to the Top Chef Recipe Finder to see if they had the deconstructed recipe posted. They didn't. Our friend was coming over in an hour. There was no way I was able to figure out a recipe for this dish in that amount of time.
I had to think fast. I had $20 worth of duck breast ready to be cooked. I decided to make a duck breast ragu` with pappardelle (which was awesome, by the way) and figure out what to do with this mole later.
The next day, I decided to make the dish for Jack and I for dinner using chicken instead of duck. I assembled the dish as it was made during the Rancher episode and served it. The mole` really did look like poop on a plate. Now, sometimes dishes that look like poop on a plate are delicious. But this really was not. It wasn't bad, per se, but it was no wonder if fell in the middle of the pack. I did love the tequila marinated watermelon, though, but otherwise, it was a very lackluster dish. I threw out the remainder of the mole, knowing I wouldn't use it again.
I will try to conquer the winning dish this weekend and give a two-fer next week. Wish me luck.
Get the recipe here.
And, of course, I just checked the website, and the recipe is finally up. Thanks, Bravo.