Monday, April 25, 2011

Iron Chef Potluck #1, Volume 1: The Prep & Alex's Tuna Tar

I challenged my tastes, wallet, and stomach stamina when some friends and I hosted a Iron Chef-esque potluck on Saturday night. With 10 guests and individual dishes crammed into one kitchen, we had our work cut out for us. After hours of toiling away in the kitchen, we deemed the first Iron Chef Potluck a glorious success!

The Menu:
Alex: Tuna Tar Tar served with Quail Eggs
Sam: Burgundy Beef Stew with Horseradish Sour Cream
Heruy: Grilled Alaskan Salmon with Creamy Parmesan Polenta in a Diane Sauce
Rachel (me!): Rigatoni Carbonara
Jodi: Gnocchi with Spinach, Peas in a Creamy Red Pepper Sauce
Ted: Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Adam: Pasta Shells with Meat Sauce
Jamie: Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Quinn: Key Lime Pie & Chocolate Mint Pie
Carla: Chocolate Brownies

Saturday afternoon, Heruy, Sam and I went on a grocery run, stopping at 4 different stores to gather our necessary ingredients. After exploring the main stores, I settled on buying everything at Bay Cities, an Italian deli with imported goods straight from the motherland. I snatched up sheets of pancetta, fresh handmade rigatoni, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, and of course, eggs. 

(Alex & Heruy doing prep work)

We returned to the boys' apartment to get started on our prep work. Turns out, that takes longer than you ever anticipate. We spent a few hours chopping, dicing, slicing, simmering and marinating -- and of course, sipping some Toscana red wine. More and more guests started to trickle in with prepared dishes, and finally we were ready to start! 

(Alex with tuna tar tar)

Just kidding. Most dishes had to be served immediately after completion, or at the very least heated up on the stove, so we took shifts finishing and plating our dishes. First up was Alex's tuna tar tar. After what seemed like an eternity of dicing up tuna, he dipped wonton wrappers in a honey ponzu sauce before frying them. In the suddenly much-smaller kitchen, we all almost nearly killed Alex moving back and forth while he gingerly dipped his wrapped wontons in the deep fryer.

Once the wontons were finished, he piled in the sushi-grade tuna and sprinkled it with hoison sauce and wasabi tobikko (flying fish roe -- fish eggs). He also topped quail eggs with an onion mixture. Quail eggs are apparently meant to be taken raw, like a shot. Some guests, including myself, were brave enough to toss it back -- a salty slurp and it was over. Definitely something that I might not have tried a few years ago. The tuna tartar was absolutely delicious, and a thankfully light starter compared to the other dishes. 

Next up, Volume 2: Burgundy Beef Stew & Salmon Diane with Creamy Polenta!


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