Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top Chef Dinner

Corn Sopes with Char Siu Pork and Pickled Asian Slaw

Since Steph and I are celebrating the return of Top Tattoo...err...Top Chef, I've decided I'm going to do my best to make a dish from the cookbook on Wednesday nights. Yes, I'm a geek. No, you shouldn't be surprised. This recipe is from the 1st season challenge that required the cheftestants to fuse two SF cuisines, in this case Mexican and Chinese. It was originally made by LeeAnn and Stephen, so we were expecting greatness, which we eventually reached. However, if all of the recipes are going to treat me the way this one did, I'm going to abandon this idea real quick.

Unlike real char siu pork, which is made with pork shoulder, this was made with center cut pork loin. I used the same marinade as my recipe, instead of resorting to the bottled stuff (longer in the kitchen, I know, but well worth it). The slaw is cabbage, carrot and jicama, cooked in boiling vinegar-sugar solution, then drained and chilled. I really liked the jicama since it maintained its crunch up until we ate. The green sauce is an avocado cream (avocado, sour cream, chili oil, lime juice).

The corn sopes gave me the most trouble. Could it have been that I didn't use fresh masa harina? Possibly, and maybe my lazy ass should've driven to the Mexican grocery...but it didn't. When I put the sopes into the oil to fry, they literally melted away into a mushy, oily mess. Not pleased at all, especially since I had been planning on eating at 6 and it was pushing 7:15. So I busted out a little Martha and found her recipe for corn cakes. Hence, we ended up eating a Southern-Mexican-Chinese fusion dish.

How did it taste? Pretty damn good. Great textures, lots of flavor, with everything in balance. Definitely a keeper, and definitely how I'm going to use up leftover char siu come wintertime.


Rob Timko said...

Left over char sui? riiight.

Looks awesome regardless of the Sopes. Check out Bayless or even better (sometimes) Diana Kennedy's books for some Sopes discussion and some in depth on Masa.

That's why I scared to do it myself! Frozen sopes...shhhh, don't tell no one, "they'll all be doin' it"

Alex said...

Ironically enough, I was just at Borders paging through Kennedy's first chapter all about maiz. I picked it up because I know of your fondness for her recipes.

According to her, here's where I went wrong: frying in 1/4" of oil when I should've been using no oil whatsoever. Naturally, when I slid dough that was nothing more than masa, Crisco and water into the oil, it distintegrated.

...and the only reason why I ever have left over char siu is because I make it like 5 lb at a time :)