God dammit Nathan, we were going to do Jonathan Waxman, and he cleaned house, winning both the quickfire and the elimination challenge. They spent the whole episode calling him "Chef Kenobi," for god's sake!!! Instead we settled on Mark Peel, who followed the trend of our featured chefs by finishing in LAST PLACE. Our chosen cheftestants have also managed to drop the bar for the lowest score each week, with Peel garnering only 9½ out of a possible 20 stars! Nathan tried to console me by assuring me that probability was not on our side, as there are way more losing chefs than victorious ones in these early rounds, but I pointed out that the chances of us selecting the absolute lowest scoring chef three consecutive episodes is way less than choosing one of the two winners.
I'm very frustrated in our inability to pick a more masterful top chef master, but I have to admit that our Mark Peel Meal was incredibly easy and delicious, and he just happened to get slammed with some particularly bad luck during the episode. He prepared a delicious seafood sausage with mustard greens, and only needed to bake them into a puffy Yorkhire pudding. Unfortunately, the oven they were using was faulty, and his dish didn't bake in time. He was forced to crank up the temperature at the last moment, which turned the pudding into a leaden clump of dough at the bottom of his dish. The critics seemed to like the rest of the dish despite its overall failure, but the diners gave him only one star, leaving him to finish in last place behind the ever odious Ludo Lefebvre. Sorry Mark, and better luck next season!
cornmeal crusted trout
The one thing that Mark did leave us with is this phenomenally easy recipe for cornmeal-crusted pan-fried trout. Coat a couple of nicely seasoned trout fillets in a mixture of cornmeal, flour, chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and then place them flesh side down in a pan with some very hot oil. After a minute, add some butter, wait two minutes or until skin begins to curl, and then flip and cook for another 30 seconds or a minute. Serve with lemon wedges. Incredibly simple, but so good!
We had ours with some rice and some spinach I sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic until it was thoroughly wilted. I love meals that come together in under a half an hour and without any stress!
Next is the last of the first round top chef match ups, and we're going to featuring the work of our first female chef, Jody Adams. She's the owner of Rialto's, which is in Cambridge, and is Nathan's dad and step-mom's favorite restaurant. We always eat really well there and I'm confident we can find a really good recipe of hers to replicate. Here's hoping that she does better than our first three Masters!