In this bracket challenge, you voted for the secret ingredient you thought was the hardest to work with in the past four seasons of The Next Iron Chef. In Round 1, you had to narrow down eight ingredients to four. In Round 2, you had to choose the two finalists. In the Finals, you chose the winner.
On a recent visit to Jamaica, just about every meal my wife and I sampled came with a side order of beautiful golden plantain strips, shallow-fried and served with a sprinkling of salt and nutmeg. They were the perfect accompaniment to grilled local fish or large plates of tear-inducing jerk chicken, and were so delicious a memory that they have now become a regular staple in the Majumdar pantry.
Watching the Iron Chef and his challenger has definitely given me some new ideas for how to use plantains in my own kitchen, and I hope to persuade those of you who have not yet tried them to give the banana’s less well-known cousin a try yourself.
What are plantains?
Plantains, or “cooking banana” as they are sometimes known, are part of the same family as the banana and are often mistaken for them. However, plantains and bananas differ in a number of important areas, both in how they look and in how they are prepared.
The famed Secret Ingredient: It’s destroyed some chefs while others have succeeded in Kitchen Stadium. In past years, we’ve seen the Chairman unveil everything from eggs, canned tuna, kale and mozzarella to cowboy rib-eyes, seaweed, whole pigs and sea whistle. From everyday ingredients to hard-to-find cuts of meat and fish, the culinary wizards of Food Network can find just about anything.
Have you ever wanted a say in the Secret Ingredient? Now’s your chance.
Instructions: Vote once a day until next Tuesday for your favorite Secret Ingredient in our poll below. Then stay tuned to an upcoming episode to see if your ingredient was chosen.
On special occasions, FN offers private tours to visiting dignitaries, celebrity chefs and the like. One FN’er, Joe, takes time from his day job to lead this behind-the-scenes tour.
A recent tour-ist, Lana, suggested… “You could ask Joe what questions folks ask the most (during tours). I’ll bet it’d make an interesting read.” Good post, Lana. Thanks, Joe. Here goes:
Q) Who gets to eat the food?
A) Who ever is closest – studio crew etc… We only purchase food for what we are making that week and we donate to any extras to City Harvest each Friday.
Q) On Iron Chef America, do they know the secret ingredient?
A) Before the show, the chefs are told that it could be one from a list of items. The challenge is still amazingly difficult to pull off in an hour. Plus, the cameras never stop rolling…no matter what.
Q) Are all of the Iron Chefs here for each show?
A) When we shoot a battle, there is only one. The others are stand ins.
Q) What is the weirdest ingredient a challenger chef requested on Iron Chef?
A) Jose Andres – Goat testicles
Bonus fact — Our offices are on the site of the original Nabisco factory. The Oreo was invented here in 1912.