Monday, January 31, 2005

Chef Ming Tsai beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay in last nite's cookout. Good stuff. The secret ingredient was Duck. The show was on at the same time as Pompeii so there was a fair amount of back and forth.

A few thoughts on Pompeii. First, I am simply amazed at the courage of the camera crews who hung in there to get stunning live footage. I'm equally amazed that the film lasted this long in the ruins. Simply amazing. Also, I was surprised to find that the Pompeiians spoke English, with a British accent no less. Call me ignorant, but I thought they'd speak Greek of Latin. Boy was that a dumb assumption.

I liked it. It brought home what happened on that fatefull day. Quite sad actually. The first hour and half was good then they inexplicably shift to a modern day format with some geologist chic and it all went down hill from there.

As for the Iron Chef cook off. For those unaware and uninitiated, there are three/four iron chefs and each week a challenger comes and one of the chefs is picked to face off with him. A secret ingredient is revealed which must be used in all five dishes that they must prepare in one hour.

There is a "stadium" kitchen set up for both teams and I think each chef has about two or three chefs working with him. At the end they must have five offerings. They are then judged by a panel who judge them on taste, plating, creativity. At the end the winner is declared. Last nite's winner was Chef Tsai.

Between Bobby Flay and Chef Tsai, the duck possibilities were unbelievable. The drool could not be stopped and we could only dream of what that stuff tasted like. It appears that Chef Ming Tsai has a website and actually has his own show on Food network. I really liked his East meets West style and I'm going to be giving his recipes a shot.

Here's my first shot:

THAI LIME CHICKEN SALAD

If you’ve ever tried a summer roll, you know they usually contain a protein like shrimp, rice or mung beans, lettuce, basil, and lime juice, all wrapped in rice paper. This deconstructed version is all filling, made with grilled chicken breast, spinach, rice noodles, and, of course, the Thai Lime Dipping Sauce. I love this salad because it contrasts warm chicken with cool ingredients, but you can make the chicken in advance, if you like, and serve it cool, too.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, if needed

8 ounces rice noodles

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup Thai Lime Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 pound baby spinach leaves

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Prepare an outdoor grill and heat to hot. Spray the grid well with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, heat a grill pan or large heavy sauté pan over high heat. Add the grapeseed oil and swirl to coat the pan.

2. Combine the noodles with hot tap water to cover and allow to soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain well.

3. Meanwhile, lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill or sauté the chicken on both sides until colored and the juices run clear when the breasts are pierced with the tip of a knife, 8 to 10 minutes total. Allow the breasts to cool until warm.

4. Slice the breasts 12 inch thick. In a bowl large enough to hold it, combine the chicken with 14 cup of the Thai Lime Dipping Sauce and marinate for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, place the remaining 14 cup of sauce in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the canola oil. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the noodles, spinach, and tomatoes and toss. Add the chicken, including the marinade, and toss well. Serve immediately in large chilled bowls.

15 Comments:

Blogger Steve Bogner said...

I remember watching the Japanese version, and thinking how fun it would be to be one of the judges!

I haven't cooked duck in quite a while, but we have a roasted goose each Christmas, and it is one of my favorites.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

Steve,

I thought your goose recipe looked great and I shared it with my wife. let's just say that goose has limited appeal or its a Texas thing.

One of the best meals we ever had was in New Orleans during our honeymoon. My wife had duck and that had to rank in the top two or three of delicious things that I have tasted in this world. I love the duck texture, it is so unlike chicken.

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