Bacon was the name of the game on last Sunday’s episode of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, as the final four rivals were challenged to transcend the everyday Las Vegas buffet by creating a five-course buffet offering with bacon at the forefront. Teammates Nate Appleman and Amanda Freitag embraced the test wholeheartedly, featuring an easy-to-eat spread complete with bite-sized dishes and Sin City-inspired plates alike. Chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Marcel Vigneron had buffets on the brain when they imagined their French-style feast, but a few technical flaws forced them into a Secret Ingredient Showdown. In the end, it was Chef Guarnaschelli who survived to cook in the upcoming finale episode alongside Chefs Appleman and Freitag, after a raw rack of lamb proved to be Chef Vigneron’s undoing.
In this week’s installment of Rival Recipes, we’re putting the focus back on everyone’s favorite pork product and asking the top three finale-bound chefs to bring their best bacon-centered bites to battle. Chef Appleman has chosen to use pancetta (Italian cured bacon) in his big-batch side dish of Roasted Green Beans With Pancetta and Yogurt, while Chefs Guarnaschelli and Freitag are letting bacon shine in an appetizer and main dish, respectively. Chef Guarnaschelli’s recipe for Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto uses thin slices of thick-cut bacon to finish a lemon zest-topped dough, while Chef Freitag’s Bacon-Wrapped New York Trout With Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce features a bacon blanket and classic Italian seasonings.
When it comes to bacon, would you rather enjoy it alongside fresh green vegetables, atop a pizzalike bread or wrapped around tender fish? Do you prefer the taste of Italian pancetta over all else, or are you a purist who only enjoys all-American bacon? Would you most like to taste Chef Appleman’s party-ready side dish, Chef Guarnaschelli’s light but satisfying appetizer or Chef Freitag’s elegant entree? Cast your vote below, and be sure to tune in to the finale of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption on Sunday at 9pm/8c.
See below for detailed recipes.
Roasted Green Beans With Pancetta and Yogurt
Serves 6 to 8
1/2 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Mix the yogurt, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl; set aside.
Toss the green beans with the olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt. Spread in a single layer, transfer to the oven and roast until nicely charred and cooked through, about 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Add the caraway seeds and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and almonds.
Toss the green beans with the pancetta mixture and transfer to a platter. Spoon the yogurt mixture on top.
Recipe courtesy Nate Appleman, Food Network Magazine
Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto
4 thick strips bacon, thinly sliced
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon capers
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until browned and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain; keep warm. Add the onion slices to the drippings in the skillet; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook until light brown and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Combine the scallions, capers and parsley in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and half of the lemon zest; pulse gently to chop and blend. Turn the processor on and add the olive oil through the top in a steady stream. Transfer the scallion pesto to a bowl; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the creme fraiche and the remaining lemon zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Roll the pizza dough into an 8-by-14-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Spread the creme fraiche mixture on the crust. Dot with the onions and some of the bacon drippings from the pan; sprinkle with the bacon. Slice into pieces and drizzle with scallion pesto.
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Network Magazine
Bacon-Wrapped New York Trout With Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce
2 fillets trout
1/2 lb bacon
2 cups Brussels sprouts
1 bunch Italian parsley
Salt and pepper
Slice half the bacon thinly and lay three slices shingled together on a cutting board.
Lay one fillet of trout over the bacon and roll the bacon around the fish until the bacon ends meet. Seel so the trout is wearing a bacon “belt,” so to speak, Repeat with the other fillet.
Dice the remaining bacon into 1/2-inch lardons and render the bacon in a hot skillet until the fat comes out and the bacon is cooked.
Add in the Brussels sprouts and coat them with the bacon and the bacon fat, giving the sprouts a little bit of color, and then add 1/2 cup of water to finish the cooking.
Cook approximately 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
In another pan (or in the broiler, or on a grill), cook the trout fillets until the bacon is crispy and the trout is just cooked through.
Place each trout fillet onto a bed of mustard cream sauce (see below) and then top the trout with the braised Brussels sprouts and some fresh parsley leaves and serve.
1 cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cups Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
Simmer shallots and white wine in pot until dry.
Add heavy cream and reduce by half.
Strain out the shallots and put cream back into pot on low heat.
Add mustard and whisk until smooth.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Recipe courtesy Amanda Freitag, www.amandafreitag.com