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I Triple Doggy Dare You!

December 10, 2011

And we all know what that means…your pride wouldn’t let you not accept my challenge, whatever it may be.

Well, here it is. This is geared at my culinary homies, but I would love to see everyone give it a shot. One ingredient, used in an appetizer, entree, and dessert course. A mini-Iron Chef challenge you can do from the comfort of your home. You have all weekend. Monday morning I’ll check out what you came up with. If I get some good participation I may do this once a week. A challenge like this gives us a chance to flex our culinary muscles every once in a while. But this particular ingredient could possibly be like trying to bench press 250 for a 120 pound girl. Dessert will certainly be a challenge. So, what is the ingredient you say?

Fresh Sardines.

Look at those cute little eyes! Yes, in all their boney, briney glory, sardines. I had this genius idea while I was at work tonight and immediately wen’t downstairs to check out the little guys perched ever-so comfortably on a bed of ice until I snatched them up and brought them home to my cutting board. I got off work at about 10pm, a 30 minute drive home, and 3 courses completed I sit here in front of my laptop licking the kitchen-aid mixer bowl whilst typing this challenge at 1am. If you have no idea where to start, I’ll give you an example of what I came up with.

Appetizer

I utilized the sardine in this dish by making it a mousse. It was a sardine-dijon mousse in a crispy cup accompanied by a yellow lentil-toasted walnut cracker with chervil and a blackberry gastrique. In this dish I think I did a pretty good job with the texture of the mousse, I passed it through a tami making it super smooth, the cracker was surprisingly  flavorful(for a cracker), and the gastrique cut the fat beautifully. As for shortcomings…I put too much chervil in there and the cracker was crispy enough that I could have just put the mousse directly on it and left out the cup all-together.

Entree

The second course was definitely Spanish inspired, stuffed in that bad boy is an indecent amount of garlic, tomatoes, chorizo, and some jalapenos for kick. The sauce is basically all those things boiled down with some wine and pureed (chorizo is hard to puree). It’s topped simply with a basil-meyer lemon gremolatta. The layers of flavor were amazing, the only thing I kicked myself for was not searing the fish in olive oil first to get that lovely crispy skin. I wanted that texture to come through and it pissed me off the entire time I was eating it.

Dessert

Ah, the tricky one…Dessert. Not only did I do a dessert, I did a duo. That’s right, TWO desserts with sardines in them. The lumpy brown thing on the right is a fish eye truffle surrounded with flecks of black lava salt. The truffle was surprisingly…good. Well, it tasted like a regular truffle with a little something you can’t place. Until you bite into a piece of fish eye. Then you know what you’re eating and it freaks you out a little bit. On the left side of the plate is a meyer lemon ice cream topped with candied sardine skin. The only qualm I have with this dish is I think the ice cream would have benefited from a sauce. I obviously liked it since I am still licking the mixing bowl, but it could have used a little extra umph.

Well, there is my example. I hope you take the challenge. Respond to this post here or showcase your attempts on my facebook.

I promise not to  pick something so weird for next time.

Happy brainstorming!

 

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