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What Tom Colicchio Would Make in the Double Flavor Elimination Challenge
The Bravo's Top Chef head judge whipped up an unlikely experimental dish.
On Bravo's Top Chef: All Stars L.A.'s April 23 episode, the competing chefs were tasked with an elimination challenge to work in pairs to highlight two flavor profiles in one cohesive dish.
Each pair was assigned two different flavor combinations, including bitter and umami, sour and umami, and sour and salty. To highlight sweet and bitter, contestants Eric Adjepong and Bryan Voltaggio whipped up a pork with maafe lacquer and bitter greens. While the judges were impressed with the overall dish, they were disappointed in the lack of sweetness coming through. If challenged with the same flavor combination, Tom Colicchio would have gone a totally different route.
In the What Would Tom Do? episode above, Tom took on the same challenge by selecting two tasting profiles to highlight. He explained of his picks: "I thought bitter and sweet would be really cool." Ultimately, Tom decided to cook bittersweet roasted beets, artichokes, and radicchio salad as his dish.
Of course, Tom and Nilou Motamed had some fun while whipping up the meal. In the video, Tom noted he has a preference of cooking with "a dry wine," and it seemed Nilou was on board with his pick, as she jokingly turned her back to drink directly from the bottle.
While noting that the dish likely wouldn't be served at one of his restaurants, Tom felt it was a perfect meal to win the challenge. "I think this is a moment when you can really be experimental," he explained in the clip. "This isn't even a dish, this is a concept."
Clearly, Tom put a lot of thought into meal. "What I wanted to do was find ingredients that represented these flavors," Tom said. "I know that beets are inherently sweet, radicchios are inherently bitter. So I thought this was a really cool way to highlight these flavors and ingredients."
As it turns out, the choice to use beets offers more than just sweet flavor. Tom notes via a fun fact in the video that beets can be used as a hangover cure, an aphrodisiac, or as hair dye.
As they cooked, Tom admitted: "I don't know one hundred percent where I'm going with this, to tell you the truth. I'm kind of just feeling this as I go." However, the meal was ultimately a success. "The radicchio actually kind of tastes sweet," Nilou exclaimed. "This is cool."
Watch Tom and Nilou take on the challenge in the video above and get a step-by-step guide to making the dish at home with the recipe below!
Bittersweet Roasted Beet, Artichoke & Radicchio Salad
4 Artichoke Hearts
2 slices of Bacon, chopped
1 Carrot, diced
1 Stalks of Celery, diced
1 Leek, thinly sliced
1 c White Wine,
2 c Chicken Stock
2 Bay leaves
4 sprigs of Thyme
Salt & Pepper-
Add all ingredients to large pot and submerge in wine and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to
Medium Low and cook until artichokes are tender.
8 medium sized beets
Salt & Pepper
1 Bunch of Thyme
Place all ingredient in roasting pan, cover in foil and Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Once they are cooked, remove skin by simply wiping each beet with
a dry cloth.
2 cups of Beet Juice
Cook on Medium heat for approximately 20 minutes.
1 head of Radicchio
To assemble: Place Artichokes, Beets and Vegetables on the plate, Dress Radicchio with Oil
Olive, Drizzle Beet Reduction and Garnish with fried parsley.
2.5 cups Green Lentils
2 c Water
¼ c Carrot, fine dice
¼ c Onions, fine dice
¼ c Celery, fine dice
1 tsp Garlic, minced
3 Bay Leaves
2 sprigs Thyme
2 Tbl Tomato Paste
Salt & Pepper
1 head Red Cabbage, shredded
¼ c Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs Light Brown Sugar
Salt & Pepper
Garnish : Parsley
Start with Lentils: Sauté mirepoix, herbs and tomato paste in medium sized pot. When onions begin to brown, add lentils and water. Cook until desired doneness.
Shred red cabbage and sauté in pan with olive oil. Add balsamic and brown sugar. Cook down until most liquid is absorbed.
Season Trout and sear skin side down in hot pan. Add Bay leaf Thyme and butter to pan. Flip when nice and brown. Cook for about 5 minutes depending on thickness of filet.
Assemble Dish and Garnish with parsley.
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