Monday, July 21, 2008

Strange Concepts

On the fourth week of Next Food Network Star, the contestants were given some god-awful choices of things to pull together for a meal. The winning dish wound up on the menu at Red Lobster. I had forgotten this until we got to Red Lobster for dinner with our friends, Harlan and Susan Ellison, and Dr. Who writer James Moran and his wife, opera singer Jody Kearns (I hope I spelled that correctly), on holiday from Britain. There on the menu was the Macadamia Crusted Tilapia in White Chocolate Beurre Blanc, which had been concocted by contestant Kelsey during the challenge.

Len nudged me into ordering it, when what I really wanted was the steamed lobster. He wouldn't order it because he won't eat white fish that could possibly have a pin in it. All I can say is that the other meals from that night's competition (some of which had to incorporate marshmallow creme or caramel) must have been pretty near inedible if this was the winning dish. Well, that's not all I can or will say.

The contrivance of having to add white chocolate is the downside of this dish. The fish itself, with the macadamia crust is pretty good. It's the buerre blanc that didn't work for me. If it had been a normal buerre blanc, with a goodly amount of lemon, or perhaps even a lemon caper sauce, I would have really enjoyed it. I did not like the sweetness at all, and it was an overly rich dish which sat heavily in my stomach for hours.

I really liked Kelsey, whose bubbling personality was absolutely engaging. She was the one contestant I thought I'd like to see on a repeating basis. But this dish is not one I'm going to make at home, ever. If you want to give it a try, the name links to the Food Network website with the recipe in full. Personally, I'd deep six the white chocolate and the coconut cream.

I did get to take home the leftover lobster from the table, which I turned into lobster salad sandwiches on Sunday night. It was pretty easy to do. I chopped up some fresh tarragon (do you know that means "dragon's tooth" in French) from my garden, finely diced two stalks of celery, added some scallions and mixed it together with a few tablespoons of mayo and sour cream. I think it may have needed a little more salt and some lemon, but it made a nice dinner on a really hot day.

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