This throwdown was a couple challenge. So, couples teamed up to deliver double the trouble! The South Beach theme was a particularly successful one, forcing the chefs to think healthy, but tasty. On top of that, each team had to prepare a drink to match their dish. The winning couple and second time 1st place spot went to Amanda and JF. These guys have serious tricks up their sleeves and are not to be underestimated! Here’s how they did it:
AMANDA AND JF: BLOODY CEASAR AND HOMEMADE SMOKED SALMON ON BRAISED LENTILS
1 can of Puy French lentils
1 teaspoon vegatable oil
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
1/3 cup finely diced leek
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add carrots, onion, leek, and garlic and ently sweat for a few minutes.
- Add wine to deglaze, scraping any bits.
- Add stock and lentils; bring to simmer and reduce until liquid is evaporated – about 25 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper & chopped parsley.
Homemade Smoked Salmon
3 cups hot water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons coarse or kosher salt
Pinch grated lemon zest
2 (4-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
1 to 2 cups hickory or alder wood chips, for smoking
1/2 cup water
- Combine the hot water, brown sugar, white sugar, salt and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon, skin side up, to the brine, pressing it down to submerge.
- Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the salmon from the brine, and discard the liquid. Rinse the fillet under cold running water briefly to remove the excess salt. Place the salmon, skin side down, onto a rack. Let it stand until the top is dry to the touch, for about 1 hour. Do not pat dry.
- To prepare your wok smoker: Lay 2 layers of foil in the bottom of a wok if you want to protect the pan from getting charred. Add 2 handfuls of wood chips to the wok and place it over high heat. Add the 1/2 cup water.
- Position the bamboo steamer over top of the chips, and set the salmon fillets inside.
- Cover the wok with a lid or aluminum foil, and let the salmon smoke for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until its flesh is firm to the touch, and its edges are brown, crustier and caramelized.
SERVE AND ENJOY!