Friday, October 8, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: Cook Like an Iron Chef

I've mentioned that Bob and I like the Food Network. We do a lot. It's up there on one of our most watched channels for sure. So, imagine our excitement when the Food Network launched a whole new network: The Cooking Channel!! Life is complete!

One of the shows we really like on an unhealthy level is The Iron Chef on the Food Network. We're familiar with the Iron Chefs, the judges, we have inside jokes about this show. Like I said: unhealthy. Well, on the Cooking Channel, the have a new show called "Cook Like an Iron Chef" hosted by one of the Iron Chefs, Michael Symon. We immediately started watching.

On the show Iron Chef, there is secret ingredient that the Iron Chef and his opponent must use and highlight throughout a four course meal. The chef who does this the best according to 3 judges prevails. On the show Cook Like an Iron Chef there is a secret ingredient cooked in different ways by Michael Symon, no judges just creative ways to make a certain ingredient.

Robert and I found success with one of his recipes and I thought I'd share.

Secret ingredient: Scallops

1 Tblsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1 cup bay scallops
1 shallot minced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic minced
red pepper flakes to taste
2 Tblsps of flat leaf parsley thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 tsp butter
1/2 fresh pasta (i can't make pasta - i bought it at whole foods in the cheese section.)

Bring a large post of water to boil over medium heat.

Put a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and pancetta and cook until rendered and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Season scallops with a little salt and add to the pan. Cook until slightly golden, about 1 minute, giving them a quick flip.

Heavily salt the water so it tastes like the ocean (that's really what he says..ha), and then drop in the pasta and cook for about 1 minute. Add the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and give the pan a shake. Transfer the cooked pasta directly into the saute pan with the scallops reserving the pasta water. Add about a 1/2 of pasta water to the pan to create a sauce-like consistency, and reduce heat. Stir in the parsley and drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, then swirl in the butter. Taste and add salt if necessary. Transfer the pasta into a serving dish, give the pasta another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

That's it!!

It was super good and super easy!! I think the fresh pasta is the secret? It was soooo good! Give it a try, it won't let you down.

There were some Bob and Al adjustments. In Michael Symon's recipe, he called for guanciale instead of pancetta. What is guanciale, you ask? Well, I will tell you - it's an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with a pig's jowls or cheeks. Not in your local supermarket, plus kind of freaks me out. Also, I wanted the taste of the pancetta in my pasta, but didn't want the actual bits of pancetta, I passed those to Roberto being the semi-vegetarian that I am. Actually, I take that back. I don't like labels. Especially since I'm going home tonight and my dad will probably make me eat a T-bone. The point is, I didn't eat the pancetta if you don't want to eat that part, it's easy to dodge.

Out next Culinary Adventure could be inspired by Cook Like an Iron Chef again because the last one we watched seemed to have a yummy recipe. I'll let you know the secret ingredient later. Since it is a secret and all...shhhhhhhhh, it's a secret. ha.

p.s. Finally made that pumpkin bread last night. It definitely satisfied my fall/pumpkin craving! Highly recommend this recipe :)

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