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Food Fighters

FOOD FIGHTERS (NBC)

Food Fighters

"Jim Stark"

A retired grandfather takes on acclaimed chef Elizabeth Falkner in a bid to win $100,000...[button color="orange" size="small" link="http://www.nbc.com/food-fighters" target="blank" ]Official Site[/button]

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Food Fighters

Recap

Chef Adam Richman welcomes retired grandfather Jim Stark to the Food Fighters stage. Jim's passion for cooking came from his grandmother Mama Dolly, and he's competing to help the lives of others. For three years he's been delivering food to elderly folks in need, and he's going to donate his winnings to help those in need. Jim's first opponent is Chef Josh Stone the Sandwich King, who's known for his chain of delis. Jim decides to make his fried catfish with comeback sauce, hoping Chef Stone has no experience with it - he doesn't. Jim's secret weapon is a pecan flour batter with amber ale. Chef Stone decides to make crunchy catfish sliders with a little Asian flavor. Jim has already plated his catfish while there's still three minutes on the clock, and spends his final moments grating lemon zest. Then the two dishes are off to the Dinner Party - a group of everyday Americans - for a blind taste test. In a 3-to-2 decision, the winner of the first food fight of the night is Jim!

Jim's second opponent is the Southern Comfort Caterer, Chef Yaku Moton-Spruill from San Francisco, whom many think is the Shaq of the kitchen. Jim decides to use his grandmother's chocolate cake recipe - her signature dish. Chef Moton-Spruill will prepare a flourless chocolate lava cake spiced with jalapenos, and served with a raspberry-citrus coulis. Jim's going to use raspberries too, which along with Grand Marnier, he'll cook down into syrup and serve with mascarpone. After scorching his cake, Chef Moton-Spruill turns his attention to presentation, hoping it will win the day... but it doesn't! Jim's winnings now total $15,000.

Private Chef Deborah Benaim may be only 25, but she's bringing bold global flavors, so Jim decides to make his American favorite, steak with mushroom sauce. Chef Benaim isn't worried; if Jim only knew how many steaks she prepared while working at Spago! For this food fight, she's going to prepare a pepper-crusted bone-in rib-eye with a five mushroom side. In the end, the Dinner Party chooses in favor of Chef Benaim in a 3-to-2 decision.

Jim's next opponent is known as the mad scientist, Chef Marcel Vigneron, a trained French chef who loves new high-tech techniques. With $20,000 at stake, Jim challenges him to a Baby Back Rib Showdown. Surprisingly, Jim uses the shabu shabu technique, parboiling his ribs in a pressure cooker first, then searing them. Chef Vigneron will give his ribs a soy honey glaze, and he'll serve it with kale slaw and a crispy potato salad. It's a close race, neck and neck all the way, but Jim takes the win - and $20,000 with a recipe that's over 100 years old.

The final opponent of the night is celebrity Chef Elizabeth Falkner - a triple threat, who cooks savory, sweet and molecular, every single day. She considers herself to be a culinary athlete, whose primary focus is Italian. Jim is well aware of Chef Falkner's reputation and he's nervous, since the only recipe he has left is his Cheesy Polenta. She decides to start her dish with white polenta, which is made out of hominy, while Jim sticks with grits from yellow corn, which he thinks is tastier. Can he double his winnings and take home $70,000 - yes he can - and he does!

Food Fighters

Jim Stark's Recipes

Pecan-Fried Catfish with Comeback Sauce

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INGREDIENTS
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup corn meal
1 cup ground pecans 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/2 to 2 (12-ounce) bottles of amber beer
4 (6-ounce) catfish filets 
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper 
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 lemon, juiced 

COMEBACK SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup ketchup 
1 teaspoon prepared mustard 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
2 tablespoons minced onions 
2 cloves garlic 
Juice of one lemon 

CREAMY CILANTRO SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 (7-ounce) can tomatillo salsa 
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon celery salt 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped 
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* Combine all contents in a blender

Preheat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cayenne and whisk to combine. Whisk in beer, being sure to remove any lumps. 

Cut catfish filets (thin) in half lengthwise to make two strips. Then cut into even 2-inch rectangles. In a small bowl, add salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Season the filet with salt mixture. 

Dip each strip in beer batter and add to fryer, a few at a time, moving them around so they don't stick. Fry until brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from fryer to a draining sheet. Repeat with the remaining filets and season the fish with lemon juice.

 

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce and Mascarpone

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INGREDIENTS
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus extra shavings for topping
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 
2 tablespoons powdered sugar 
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
1 cup mascarpone
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier 
2 cups fresh raspberries 
1 cup sugar water
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat six small ramekins with butter and dust with flour. Set ramekins on a sturdy baking sheet. Melt chocolate in microwave with butter, let cool. In the mixer, whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar on high until pale and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Using a rubber spatula, fold chocolate and butter into egg fluff. Then fold in cake flour until there are no streaks. 

Spoon batter into prepared ramekins. Bake 8 minutes until cakes have risen and tops are dry and center is jiggly. Let stand for 5 minutes. 

In a bowl, beat cream with vanilla seeds, powdered sugar and lemon zest until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone and lemon juice, beat until blended. 

Combine raspberries, sugar water and Grand Marnier in pot and cook down into jam. After done, strain for raspberry sauce. 

Run tip of small knife to loosen cakes from ramekins and unmold onto plates. Spoon raspberry sauce on one side and scoop mascarpone on the other side. Place sugared raspberries, chocolate shavings and a mint leaf on top. 

 

Steak with Blue Cheese Mushroom Sauce

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INGREDIENTS
6 ounce beef tenderloin filets
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
8 ounces Portobello mushroom caps, sliced
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup sour cream 
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled, divided 
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
Grape seed oil

SWEET POTATO CHIPS INGREDIENTS
1 head garlic
1 bunch sage
2 large sweet potatoes
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep frying
Sage salt for seasoning

Rub filets with chopped tarragon and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, pour 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil. Add filets and cook for 5-10 minutes on each side until desired temperature is reached. Sear all sides. Have oven at 450 degrees just in case you need to finish cooking in the oven. Finish by basting with 2 tablespoons butter. Remove and keep warm in foil. 

In the same skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add sliced mushrooms. Sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Stir in sour cream. Sprinkle in 2 ounces of bleu cheese. Pour over filets and top with balance of blue cheese. 

Set a large pot and over medium heat. Add garlic and sage and bring the oil up to 375 degrees. As the oil heats up, the sage and garlic will infuse the oil. Remove garlic and sage and set aside. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, shave thin chips out of the sweet potato. Rinse in cold water, drain and fry in oil until crispy. Drain and season with salt. 

 

Asian Baby Back Ribs with Secret Barbecue Sauce

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INGREDIENTS
Baby back ribs
Beef broth 
Yoshida sauce
Worcestershire sauce 
Onion flakes 
Garlic salt 
Seasoning salt 
Turmeric 
Ginger liquid 
Cardamom 
Star of anise

Slice baby back ribs into two ribs each. Fill large pressure cooker with all ingredients except ribs. While boiling broth, sear ribs in pressure cooker. Cook for 10 minutes, then de-pressurize slowly in cold. Remove ribs and broil in oven for 3 minutes, then chill in fridge until fat congeals. Grill at high temperature until fat gets crispy. Coat with barbecue sauce. Serve with more sauce. 

BARBECUE SAUCE INGREDIENTS
3 cups dark brown sugar 
2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
1-1/4 cups yellow mustard 
6 cups ketchup 
5-1/2 cups honey 
3 cups onion flakes 
1 cup Worcestershire sauce 
2 cups Yoshida sauce 
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 
2 tablespoons garlic salt 
4 tablespoons Lawry's seasoning salt 
1/2 cup lemon juice 

Place brown sugar in large mixing bowl. Make sure to flatten out any bumps in the sugar until it's very smooth. Add mustard, ketchup and honey, mix well. Add Worcestershire and Yoshida sauce. Mix well. Coloration should now be a dark burnt rust color. If sauce is too orange in color, add more Yoshida sauce. Add all remaining ingredients and whisk well. Keep in a cool area. 

FOR SMOKIER SAUCE

Add additional 2 cups dark brown sugar to base mixture. Add 1-1/2 to 2 cups liquid smoke. Add 4 tablespoons Spanish smoked paprika. 

FOR SPICIER SAUCE

Prepare base mixture. Add 2 cups Sriracha hot chile sauce. Add 4 heaping tablespoons of wasabi sauce. Add 2 cups additional dark brown sugar. Mix well with whisk. 

 

Cheesy Polenta with Mushroom Sauce and Fried Pancetta

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INGREDIENTS
1 cup instant corn grits (polenta) 
4-3/4 cups milk/cream 
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated 
1/2 cup packed white cheddar cheese, grated 
4 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
4 cups assorted fresh mushrooms 
1/2 cup matchbook-size strips of ham 
2 tablespoons minced shallots 
1/2 cup white wine (dry) 
1/2 cup whipping cream 
2 tablespoons minced thyme

Preheat a deep-fryer to 425 degrees. Fill 9x11 Pyrex dish halfway with water and place in oven. Prepare instant corn grits (polenta), stirring constantly until creamy smooth. 

Whisk in grated parmesan, cheddar and 2 tablespoons butter. Season corn grits to taste with pepper. Whisk in egg and stir constantly until smooth. Pour into small buttered ramekin dishes. Bake until firm to touch (15 minutes). 

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add assorted mushrooms, ham and minced shallots. Sauté until almost fully absorbed. Add whipping cream and cook until thickened (3 minutes). Stir in fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper. 

Remove grits from ramekins, smother with mushroom/ham mixture and top with 1/2 cup grated parmesan. 

Fry pancetta in skillet, crumble over grits and plate.  

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