Thursday, September 02, 2010

Could You Please Pass the Salt and Red Hots?

I'm finally repainting my hideous kitchen. It was a mustardy yellow that had been "antiqued" and had distressed teal green trim. Unfortunately, the "antiquing" made it look like old oil splatters, so it was kind of a French country fail.
In any case, I unloaded all of my cookbooks from the shelves and started to go through them, deciding which are going to be donated. My absolute favorite book is Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything," and I have others by him as well that I use quite often. There's one, however, that I never even cracked open: "Bittman Takes on America's Chefs." It's billed as a "culinary battle of home-style vs. restaurant style."
I started flipping through it and saw a recipe for Broiled Squab with Jordan Almonds. Say what? Yep, the ingredients were squab (a.k.a. flightless pigeon), salt and pepper, butter, and 1 1/2 cups of chopped Jordan almonds. I've never had squab, but the picture looked pretty unappetizing. That recipe was provided by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Bittman's challenge to this was Broiled Cornish Hens with Red Hots: Cornish hens, salt and pepper, butter and 1 1/2 cups ground Red Hots. I can't say that this recipe looked much better.
In the notes, Bittman says that, "the sugar from the nuts caramelizes perfectly, and for a simple dish, the crunch and flavor are unbeatable. And the Red Hots melt into a cloak over the top of the bird and then harden to a brittle, candy-like topping that is both sweet and hot."
I don't know what to think. On one hand, I want to say no thanks, but on the other hand, it might be interesting to play around with candy and savory foods. Have any of you Yumsters tried this (or anything like it)? What's your opinion?

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