Iacovone: Battle Langoustine
The challenger: Bob Iacovone, a
Massachusetts native with a degree from the Culinary Instutute of
America and a first-level sommelier certificate from the Court of
Sommeliers in London. He uses both abilities as executive chef of Cuvee
in New Orleans. Today, he crosses knives with Bobby Flay.
Gentlemen, prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Dan Mihalko & Neil Manacle, sous chefs
Brent Bond & Kim Kringlie, sous chefs
The Theme Ingredient:
The Rules: Each chef must create a five-course
meal, with each course utilizing the theme ingredient,
within 60 minutes. The judges will score the dishes on a
20-point scale: 10 points taste, 5 points plating and
presentation, 5 points creativity and use of ingredient.
The chef that best articulates the theme ingredient
through his dishes wins.
The battle clock is set at 60 minutes, which will start
when the Chairman, with full heart and empty stomach,
utters the words of his dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"
And Battle Nephrops Norvegicus is on in Kitchen Stadium.
The langoustine, not a lobster, not a shrimp, not a
prawn, is a close relative of the freshwater crayfish,
an edge to the challenger. They aren't common sights in
America, and they don't take long to cook at all which
means lots of cooking at the end.... or if you're Bobby
Flay, the beginning.
Most people would say the finest langoustine comes from
the shores off of Scotland. They're very tender, very
juicy, and some would even call them the best shellfish
there is. The challenge today will be to see how the
chefs will frame that flavor without tromping all over
Fifteen minutes into the battle, and we're noticing that
Team Iacovone is wearing the fleur-de-lis with the
caption "New Orleans Rebirth". His scallop mousse is
happening, his spaghetti squash is steaming, and his
sous chefs are harvesting roe from those langoustines.
Flay counters with raw and blanched langoustines being
broken down, black rice cooking down, and chive & chili
oils... waiting. Iacovone also have phyllo bowls going
into the ovens. Flay has mango butter and a lime
Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit magazine)
Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia
Food writer/blogger Ed Levine (SeriousEats.com)
"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Much to the chagrin of
Iacovone. He has langoustine broth, watermelon bowls,
and squid ink pasta. The Iron Chef has more langoustines
prepped, more cheesy grits made, but the wild rice is
not ready yet!
Iacovone has strained his broth, taken out his phyllo
dough bowls, and is harvesting more langoustine. Flay
has made a green onion butter, more langoustines, and
the wild rice... still isn't cooked.
Iacovone seems to want to play with bold flavors,
including a sauce of roux, langoustine stock, and
brandy, a New Orleans barbecue sauce, and a glob of St.
Andre cheese. Flay has some boldness of his own with
white-cheddar grits, crumbled bacon, saffron broth, and
red curry mixtures.
With 10 minutes left, the langoustines are standing by
on Flay's side, while Iacovone prepares to plate. It
looks like he's about finished with his squid-ink
ravioli... Is that ravioli? It's some sort of filled
pasta. No, it's a tortelli. He also has coated his BBQ
sauce with langoustines. They're going into the phyllo
bowls. Flay counters with wild-rice waffles. Wow. He
also wants to toss some langoustines with his grits.
We're under five...
On the Challenger's side, spaghetti squash and
langoustine meatballs, a salad with pasta, and not much
else. Flay hopes to counter with a langoustine and
microgreen salad. the wild-rice waffle is out as well.
Next is the saffron broth, then the lime vinaigrette
langoustine. The challenger has a bisque out, but again,
Iacovone has watermelon boats down. Flay has langoustine
curry with the waffle. Iacovone has creme brulee,
tortelli, the box, the boat, the meatball... still
waiting for langoustine for that boat, though, and we
are under a minute! Flay has the waffle/curry, salad,
saffron, grilled langoustine, and grits. As for Iacovone,
he finally plates the langoustine on his watermelon
boats with ...
"Five seconds... three... two... one..." Put it down,
walk away. Battle Langoustine is over.
Judgment (Iacovone): "We wanted to have fun with
it, we wanted y'all to have fun with it. Enjoy the
presentations and a little bit of interaction with each
plate. Please enjoy."
- Tuna Carpaccio with Poached Langoustines
- Langoustine Creme Brulee
- Langoustine and St. Andre Cheese Tortelli
- Spaghetti and Langoustine Meatballs.
- New Orleans Style BBQ Langoustine Gift Box
Ed is impressed with how perfect the langoustines are
cooked and how beautifully the dishes are presented.
Donatella believes that the flavors are more separate
than they are. Andrew agrees with... Donatella.
Judgment (Flay): "This may be my favorite
ingredient. The product was absolutely beautiful, and
I'm a huge shellfish fan. To be able to procure these
from Scotland was a real treat."
- Crispy Langoustine Salad
- Grilled Langoustines
- Langoustine and Grits
- Steamed Langoustine in Saffron Broth
- Langoustine Curry with Wild Rice Waffle
Ed calls the salad crazy good. Donatella thinks that the
most classic way to eat langoustines is not to add
anything, which is what Flay did with his second dish.
Andrew thinks that the saffron dish is overwhelming.
But whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict...
... 51-42 in favor of
Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Both chefs drew even in
originality, but the Iron Chef dominated with the flavor
and appearance of his spread.
Until next time... we bid you good eating.