Last night’s episode of “Iron Chef America” pitted Chef Seamus Mullen versus Iron Chef Cat Cora. The secret ingredient was barracuda, specifically, the Pacific barracuda. No, it is not an endangered species. Our judges for the evening were Donatella Arpaia, food blogger Ed Levine, and sustainable food expert Anya Fernald.
Barracuda is a generally bland fish. It has very little ‘flavor’ of it’s own. A bit oily compared to wahoo or tuna. So it was interesting to see how the chefs used this fish. Alton Brown had to give us a quick caution as the chefs butchered their fish. It was not pretty. Barracuda is a big tough fish and both chefs had to really work their blades to slice them up.
Cat served first, starting off with a deep fried barracuda fondue. Dish #2 was a barracuda hot pot, a sort of stew with Japanese yams and other veggies. With Dish #3, Cat Cora playfully presented a barracuda ‘slider’, a bagel and lox sandwich with a barracuda patty plus a fried piece of skin to top off a slaw. Dish #4 was a barracuda pot pie, loaded with peas, carrots, potato, plus barracuda of course, and topped off with a puff pastry. Dish #5 was a barracuda spring roll served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Chef Mullen began with a mustard green soup that had a smoked barracuda tail. Dish #2 was a poached barracuda Escabeche that may have gotten him into much trouble as none of the judges liked it. Dish #3 was a Soldaditos de Pavia with deep fried battered barracuda. Dish #4 was a pasta dish with barracuda confit. And Dish #5 was barracuda carpaccio with rice and sea urchin.
Seamus Mullen had competed to become a “Next Iron Chef” but lost out to Jose Garces. Mullen lost to Cat Cora, too, 54 to 47. Cora scored a 26/14/14, a very good scoring for anyone. Chef Mullen turned in a 24/11/12 result. That Dish #2 really killed him. You could see just how much the judges disliked it.