This month Food Network is airing the 20th season of Chopped. To mark this momentous occasion, FN Dish is giving viewers the chance to see what the show looked like in its very first taped episode. Over the years the set has been updated and the basket ingredients have definitely gotten much more varied, but what hasn’t changed is the format of the show — a testament to its success.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient banana chips. While panko breadcrumbs serve as a great coating for almost all meats, the chefs wanted to prove that changing it up by mixing the breadcrumbs with a sweeter ingredient would result in a unique sweet-and-savory take on a classic jerk pork chop. In this Banana Chip Crusted Jerk Pork Chops recipe, the banana chips are ground in a blender to make them fine enough for the seasoning. Served with rice and beans, this is a quick, delicious dinner for those warm summer nights.
For the very first time on Chopped, 16 teens will enter the kitchen in the Chopped Teen Tournament, premiering Tuesday, July 15 at 10|9c. These talented youngsters bring energy and ambition to the table, to compete for $25,000 in prize money and a coveted culinary school scholarship. They’ll face appetizer, entree and dessert basket ingredients that could stump even the most-experienced adult chef. And just because they’re kids doesn’t mean they’ll be judged any differently.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient lavash. When this pita-like Middle Eastern bread is crisped up in the oven, it makes a great addition to salad, taking the place of croutons. The Italians have panzanella, a bread salad, but in Middle Eastern cuisine there’s fattoush, a salad made with flatbread. But in this Faux-toush Salad with Lavash, there’s a lot less of the bread and more of the lettuce for a modern spin on the recipe. And there’s grilled chicken breast to round everything out. This would make a healthy lunch to take to the office, or even a light dinner. You’ll definitely find exotic flavors in this dish with honey, lemon and sumac.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient catfish. They determined that its sweet, flaky flesh was perfect for frying, and in this case, the fish doesn’t get fried in just any kind of breading. Using pulverized corn tortillas in this Tortilla-Crusted Catfish Po’ Boys recipe is not only a good use for leftover tortillas from taco night, but also a great way to add lots of texture, more than you could ever get from breadcrumbs. A mixture of buttermilk and Cajun-seasoned flour functions as the glue. Serving the catfish as po’ boy sandwiches is the perfect Southern twist and a great way to enjoy a fun meal with the family.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient almond butter. Traditionally a satay is made with peanut butter, but the chefs wanted to prove that almond butter makes a great substitution, with a slightly nuttier, richer flavor. In this Almond Chicken Satay recipe, the almond butter gets combined with coconut milk to create a tasty sauce for seared chicken breast, snap peas and rice noodles. Try this unique take on the classic Thai dish for dinner tonight.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient Mexican chorizo. Unlike the Spanish variety, Mexican chorizo is a fresh sausage that requires cooking. In this Southwestern Sloppy Joes recipe it’s browned with garlic and onion and then cooked with tomatoes for a very flavorful and just-as-sloppy rendition as the classic joe. Once your family has a taste, they’ll keep coming back for seconds and thirds — and they might even request this over the classic recipe the next time.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient spiral ham. But instead of using the ham in the most-conventional way, say baking it or even cubing it, this recipe takes it to the Chopped-like extreme: The ham gets pulsed in the food processor, basically deviling it and turning it into a creamy pate that is sauteed and combined with beaten eggs to make this Deviled Ham Frittata with Jalapeno and Scallion Relish. A layer of sharp cheddar is sprinkled on top before the skillet goes into the oven. This dish is ideal for a spring brunch with family and friends — and you’ll have everyone guessing as to the secret ingredient that makes it so flavorful.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient cube steak. The key to cooking with cube steak is not overcooking the meat, because it can get tough. Typically used for chicken-fried steak, cube steak is often tenderized with a meat mallet to produce a thin cutlet, which makes it easier to cook and eat. But the technique the chefs came up with for making these Steak and Black Bean Chalupas was to sear the thinly sliced meat in a screaming-hot pan, and then simmer it in broth briefly to eliminate the need for tenderizing. Paired with mashed black beans — a take on refried beans — and a tangy chili-lime mango salsa, these open-faced tacos are filling and refreshing, perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a simple Mexican Night any day of the week with the family.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient Camembert. Inspired by a cheese plate of ham, cheese and fruit, the chefs came up with this savory bread pudding. With the characteristic texture of a quiche, this recipe for Camembert and Ham Bread Pudding makes an ideal brunch, lunch or dinner dish when paired with a simple green salad. It’s also a good use for leftovers — think bread and ham remnants from this past holiday. With the familiar flavors of ham and cheese, it’ll be a sure-fire hit with your family any day of the week.