Last night we were treated to a fresh episode of ‘Iron Chef America’ on the Food Network. Vegetarian Chef Amanda Cohen, owner of the all-veggie eatery Dirty Candy (a reference to her view of vegetables) entered Kitchen Stadium. She challenged that Master of Asian Cuisine, Masaharu Morimoto. A wise choice, indeed! The secret ingredient was broccoli.
There were a variety of types of broccoli, as well as pre-made broccoli stock. The Chairman added a special condition to last night’s event, all five dishes from each chef must be pure vegetarian. No proteins were allowed aside from eggs and tofu.
Our judges for the evening were actress Kelly Hu, Redbook food writer Melani Mannarino and the Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten. This was the first time that Iron Chef Morimoto was forbidden from using any meats. So all were waiting anxiously to see what he would come up with. Chef Cohen got host Alton Brown excited when she fired up the dreaded ice cream machine to make broccoli ice cream!
After the 60 minutes of cooking, Chef Cohen served her dishes first. She began with broccoli stalks 3-ways, crispy, raw with an avocado dip and as a mousse. Dish #2 was broccoli chowder with an eye-pleasing cheddar cheese biscuit. Dish #3 was broccoli pasta with some veggies and an egg. Dish #4 was pan-seared tofu with lightly steamed broccoli. And Dish #5 was the broccoli ice cream served with a Rice Krispies marshmallow ball and a caramel shard.
Chef Morimoto started off with a 4-way set of broccoli appetizers, two cooked and two raw. Dish #2 was broccoli soup, though more like a puree, with egg tempura. Dish #3 was a broccoli stalk sandwich with broccoli stew and pickled broccoli. Dish #4 was a broccoli stalk ‘steak’, grilled and served with a deep fried broccoli croquette. Morimoto also made his 5th Dish a dessert, broccoli shaved ice with broccoli syrup in a waffle cone. Nice!
After the scoring, the Chairman declared the winner of Battle Broccoli — Iron Chef Morimoto! Even denying him his favorite proteins did not deter the Iron Chef America master. He defeated Chef Cohen by a score of 54 to 45. Morimoto scored a 26 for flavor, and 14 points each for plating and originality. Chef Cohen scoring went 24/10/10.