vs. Spike: Battle Prosciutto
Chef Spike Mendohlson, who got his start at 13 in his
parents' restaurant. From there, he went to the Culinary
Institute of America and Le Cirque in NYC, incorporating
French, Vietnamese, and his own style into his burger
eatery, The Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, DC. Today,
he locks chef's knives with Iron Chef Michael Symon.
Prepare for battle.
The Crib Sheet:
Cory Barrett & Derek Clayton, sous-chefs
Michael Colletti & Brian Lacayo, sous-chefs
The Theme Ingredient: several
rounds of prosciutto, including cotto, 18-month crudo, and 24-month
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 Prosciutto is on! Some things
you need to know about this ingredient. The cotto is cooked ham. The
18-month is a lot redder with a lot more moisture, while the 24-month
has a higher salt content. Prosciutto is not cooked, and is often served
raw. It has to be smoked if you want to cook it.
Cory is working on a dough, perhaps a
pasta. Derek is making a cooking stock of aromatics. Spike is working
truffle shavings, while both teams of sous-chefs are working on the
18-month. Cory vacu-presses the dough to speed up the moisture-taking
process, while Spike is pouring the juice of maraschino cherries into a
pan for sauteeing with prosciutto fat. And the smoker... is going. Symon
has gone off with the 24 and the cotto, the latter he was working the
skin off. Challengers also have the pineapple, while the Iron Chef has
candied prosciutto. And I hear rumors of prosciutto ice cream. "Why
would you use truffle shavings..." Mike Symon, always the gentleman, as
he shaves his own truffles.
"Fifteen minutes have elapsed."
Symon is boiling lobsters, making polenta, and blending spinach. Spike
has asparagus, onions, and tomatoes sauteed, figs blended with balsamico,
and poached eggs.
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IC is straining his spinach puree, while
his polenta is bubbling away and his lobster is chilling. The challenge
is browning some ham, and his seared cube is going into the maraschino
juice. Derek is working with speck, which is related to prosciutto. And
it looks like we have a fritter on that side. The challenger's eggs are
coming out of poach, while Derek is frying off some prosciutto while the
IC is slicing some foccacia and Ohio goat cheese. Derek is splitting
open lobster tails, wrapping them in 18-month prosciutto. And the
spinach mixture is serving as a vessel for egg poaching. Why? "I will
not eat them, Sam I am." OH!...
"Thirty minutes to go." Challenger has an
asparagus-bell pepper salad, candied pineapple, and cotto bricks. The
Iron Chef has poached green eggs, peaches blending, and mission figs.
And Spike is about to work on a striped bass. Cory is working on a pasta
cut. Both sides have figs out.
So far, the Iron Chef has spaghetti with
prosciutto, lobster with prosciutto, green eggs & ham, and the polenta.
Spike has the cherry-cooked ham, striped bass, smoked ham, and that's
about it at the 24 minute mark.
"Ice cream, you scream."
Prosciutto Ice Cream with milk and brown sugar. He's also making some
cracklins out of the ham fat. Michael is making a vinaigrette out of
prosciutto. Probably for the salad. IC has added dried speck to his
clams. Challenger has a striped bass down in the heat.
"Fifteen minutes to go."
Spike is combining pineapples with
cherries, slicing 18 month prosciutto, and blending cantaloupe. Symon is
working on corn prosciutto, spaghetti with clams, and the prosciutto
cracklins with 10 minutes left. Symon has started to plate his foccacia,
while Spike is plating his salad and his eggs with prosciutto. Symon
will have lobster prosciutto, clam spaghetti carbonara, green eggs &
ham, prosciutto ice cream, polenta, and those fried numbers in the
chiller right now. Spike is goofing on the ham-pineapple tradition,
alongside the striped bass with salad and prosciutto vinaigrette, eggs
with prosciutto, a fake on a bellini with prosciutto-rimmed classes,
prosciutto figs, and pasta. And they're flaming a baguette for some
reason, but it may be for naught...Nope! He makes it!
"Five seconds... Three ... two... one...
" Battle Prosciutto is history.
Judgment (Spike): "Prosciutto is really a
great ingredient on its own, so I really didn't want to mess with it that much.
I applied classical pairings and just put my riff on it."
- Prosciutto and Figs
- Country Style Prosciutto
- Prosciutto Steak & Poached Eggs
- Spaghetti with Smoked Prosciutto
- Striped Bass with Prosciutto
Judgment (Symon): "My approach was to
show the versatility of prosciutto."
- Prosciutto and Figs
- Spaghetti with Prosciutto & Clams
- Prosciutto Wrapped Lobster
- Green Eggs & Ham
- Corn & Prosciutto Fritter and Brown Sugar Ice Cream
What Spike did with the play on the ham &
pineapples, Symon countered with the prosciutto ice cream. But whose
cuisine will reign supreme? The verdict...
... 55-45 in favor of
Iron Chef Michael Symon. Despite the fact that Chef
Spike served up a superior cocktail, Iron Chef Symon
puts up winning numbers in all three categories.
Until next battle, we bid
you good eating.
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