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Besh vs. Batali


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I was a little worried about the theme ingredient and couldn't quite imagine doing a whole menu around Andouille.

It seemed like both Batali and Besh poured their hearts into this battle.

Mario looked exhausted by the end.

I was a little surprised by the outcome and thought it odd that the victor won mostly on presentation. All the food looked pretty fantastic.

Anyone know where they got the sausage from?

And, in a surprising turn, it appears they have returned the choice of Iron Chef to the challenger.

All in all, I thought it was one of the most exciting Iron Chef Americas so far.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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That was one of the best battles on ICA ever. You're so right eje, they both did seem to pour their hearts into it and Mario indeed looked quite spent (and sweat soaked) at the end. The resultant dishes looked delicious although I also wondered about how much could they do with that particular ingredient, tasty though it may be. I actually thought Besh may have gone too far at the end with his andouille beignets, but I'd have definitely sampled them if I was lucky enough to be a judge.

One point. I believe that one of the judges is a journalist named Lester Holt. I have seen comments by some here that don't seem to care for anyone judging on ICA unless they have some type of food related career. However, I thought his comments were extremely helpful in understanding why he thought a dish worked, how the components came together, and why a dish just didn't work for him.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Agreed - this was a refreshingly honest effort and more about cooking than theatrics, although both of them are clearly media savvy and/or personable enough to appear so. I can see why Mayhaw Man and other NOLA folks are fond of Besh.

And, Diva, for once the "civilian" judge did make (IMHO) inciteful comments. Even when they he disagreed with the two "pros" and they started to give him a bad time, he stood his ground and explained what led him to his critique and I admired him for it. You don't have to have a pedigree to have an opinion; you just have to have conviction and the ability to articulate it or you lose credibility as, unfortunately, has happened to many of the judges.

I thought it was interesting that they allowed Besh to choose and it made me wonder if that was a condition of his participation? Just a thought.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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That was a great battle to watch and truthfully it braught alot of insight on different ways to use aduile. That had to be one of the few times I think Mario has ever looked winded. I sorta think he knew Besh was bringing alot to the table. Which is great that he would step up his game in either respect, or the desire to win. I missed the begining so I didn't notice the chalenger choicing the IC. I wonder if the IC know ahead of time or if its trufully a chooice from the begining. In the OLD IC I noticed sometimes it looked as if way ahead of time every one knew which IC was ebing picked, sorta like the Ota faction ( i think thats the name) versus Morimoto.

I also wonder when we are gonna start seeing a faction form in ICA. Or when we will get to see somone eventually beat 2-3 iron chefs and become an honarary iron chef or some other coool tittle.

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Straight from Besh's PR agent, here is the menu that toppled Batali:

So, what did Besh prepare?

Crawfish Boil en Gelee

For this dish, Besh cooked crawfish with andouille, onions, and garlic, all of which he then used to prepare an aspic that was topped with a micro-green salad and a corn vinaigrette.  This dish was described by the judges as "a little treasure chest."

Andouille Agnolotti with Sweet Breads and Lobster

The second course was andouille-stuffed agnolotti with fresh marscapone cheese, tossed with lobster, veal sweet breads, and truffle.

White Asparagus with Andouille Soup & Salad

Besh paired the sweet flavor of white asparagus with the spice of andouille.  The dish featured several stalks of asparagus topped with andouille salad and a white asparagus soup finished with andouille oil.

Crawfish and Andouille Grits

Described by Besh as the perfect brunch dish after returning from a morning of duck hunting, this course featured organic grits and crawfish cooked with andouille sausage and andouille-fortified chicken broth, and was finished with a little butter and fried sage.

Scallops and Porcini with Andouille Butter

In keeping with his Southern roots, Besh scored diver scallops, seasoned them with sea salt, and larded them with andouille sausage.  The scallops were perched on a bed of puree of porcini mushrooms and topped with andouille butter.

Andouille Beignet with Meyer Lemon Curd

Yes, he made a well-received dessert featuring the evening's theme ingredient.  Besh served andouille beignets with meyer lemon curd and berries cooked and stewed in red wine.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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FYI: Lester Holt is part of the reserve squad on NBC's "Today Show," doing the half-hourly news updates when Ann Curry is elsewhere, filling in for Matt Lauer when he's away and co-hosting the Saturday and Sunday editions.

Food and cooking are a regular part of the morning-infotainment-show mix.

--Sandy, suddenly remembering a "Today" installment from France in which former co-host Bryant Gumbel, a notorious cheeseophobe, dons a face mask before entering a Paris fromagerie

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Thanks for getting us those recipes TAPrice. After reading (and re-reading) them it brings back just how delicious looking/sounding his dishes were. As money driven as FTV is, I can't understand why they haven't jumped on creating an ICA cookbook. Probably because of their low opinion of the culinary skills of their target audience they believe that such recipes would be above their heads. If not a cookbook then at least they should do what you did and contact each chef's publicist so they can post the recipes on their website.

Thanks too Sandy for your info on Lester Holt. But I especially appreciate your dish on Bryant Gumbel. THE MAN HAS A CHEESE PHOBIA!? :shock: I always knew there was something off about that guy. :hmmm::laugh:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Straight from Besh's PR agent, here is the menu that toppled Batali:
So, what did Besh prepare?

Crawfish Boil en Gelee

For this dish, Besh cooked crawfish with andouille, onions, and garlic, all of which he then used to prepare an aspic that was topped with a micro-green salad and a corn vinaigrette.  This dish was described by the judges as "a little treasure chest."

Andouille Agnolotti with Sweet Breads and Lobster

The second course was andouille-stuffed agnolotti with fresh marscapone cheese, tossed with lobster, veal sweet breads, and truffle.

White Asparagus with Andouille Soup & Salad

Besh paired the sweet flavor of white asparagus with the spice of andouille.  The dish featured several stalks of asparagus topped with andouille salad and a white asparagus soup finished with andouille oil.

Crawfish and Andouille Grits

Described by Besh as the perfect brunch dish after returning from a morning of duck hunting, this course featured organic grits and crawfish cooked with andouille sausage and andouille-fortified chicken broth, and was finished with a little butter and fried sage.

Scallops and Porcini with Andouille Butter

In keeping with his Southern roots, Besh scored diver scallops, seasoned them with sea salt, and larded them with andouille sausage.  The scallops were perched on a bed of puree of porcini mushrooms and topped with andouille butter.

Andouille Beignet with Meyer Lemon Curd

Yes, he made a well-received dessert featuring the evening's theme ingredient.  Besh served andouille beignets with meyer lemon curd and berries cooked and stewed in red wine.

I ate at babbo in december..and i don't really give a damn about iron chef's...and i don't think john besh was cooking when i was at august, but we are both marine's so we take care of each other under any circumstances. I can tell you Mike, or whoever cooked my dinner, went well out on the edge. And it was magnificent..

Babbo was good, but August made me feel SPECIAL...at Babbo I was just another customer..August stretches...I mean they stretch...!!!

If you need an explanation, let me know.

bob

"Gentlemen: Madame Dodin-Bouffant."

So, when there is the slightest doubt, Marry the Cook!

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