Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Iron Chef Potluck #1, Volume 2: Burgundy Beef Stew & Salmon Diane with Creamy Polenta

Next up on our potluck menu was Sam's Burgundy Beef Stew. It took some of the most prep work, with Sam chopping up onions, potatoes, carrots, and zesting oranges. He browned pounds of hearty stew meat and let an entire bottle of burgundy wine cook for an hour before adding the vegetables. The orange zest and a pinch of sugar were added "to balance out the acid in the wine", and the entire stew simmered for several hours before consumption. Topped with a horseradish sour cream, the result was a rich and tangy stew that I slurped down with glee!
Heruy's dish might have been the most complex, with creamy polenta, Diane sauce and grilled salmon. He initially bought some Vons Parmesan, but I convinced him to sample my Bay Cities imported Parmesan and he changed his mind. Using this recipe from epicurious, Heruy simmered the polenta in vegetable stock and water until it was just about ready, and added cream and Parmesan immediately before serving to give it the right velvety texture.

The Alaskan salmon was grilled simply with salt and pepper and  doused with Diane sauce. What, you might ask, is Diane sauce? I asked Heruy the same thing. Apparently I've had something similar before, at Vito Risorante in Santa Monica. Heruy used the same pan as the salmon to saute thinly sliced shallots in additional olive oil until soft. He then added butter, shiitake mushrooms and garlic, and finished with Worcester sauce, Dijon mustard, dry white wine, and cream. Throughout the entire endeavor, Heruy tasted the sauce with each addition to make sure it tasted just right. While plating, he placed the grilled salmon on top of the creamy polenta, drizzled the whole thing with Diane sauce and voila! A savory sauce that I practically lapped up; enough to dip both fish and polenta in and come back wanting more. Of all the entrees, I have to admit this one was my favorite!

After Heruy's dish, it was my time to finish up my dish and get to plating! Tomorrow, read about a recipe I have been working on perfecting for over two years - authentic Roman Carbonara!

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