Last night’s battle was one of the most unusual yet! With these secret ingredients, the chefs had to use major imagination to create their courses. So what was this strange combination?
Sturgeon and fruit puree!
Sturgeon from Atlantic Sturgeon and Caviar and Perfect Purees all natural fruit purees were the featured ingredients. I can’t think of a more unlikely combination.
Course One was a Confit of Sturgeon Salad with Roasted Peaches, Green Beans, Perfect Puree Guava & Black Quinoa Dressing from Chef Shane Ingram of Four Square. The quinoa dressing was a neat surprise- I’ve certainly never considered using quinoa in that way before. The roasted peaches and sturgeon were a great match.
Course 2 was Milk Poached Veal Eye Round with Sturgeon Aioli, Perfect Puree Green Apple, Original Sin Mustard Vinaigrette & Capers from Chef Adam Rose of Il Palio. This course was one of our table’s favorites. The sturgeon aioli was a very inventive way to highlight the ingredient and pair perfectly with the green apple puree. This course was my personal favorite of the evening.
Course 3 was Mangalitsa Bacon Wrapped Carolina Sturgeon with Pesto, Crab, Creamed Corn, Sweet & Sour Peppers & Sturgeon Cracklins from Chef Ingram. This course had an amazing aroma. It really got my mouth watering! The bacon wrapped sturgeon was wonderful, but the puree did not stand out in this dish at all. The cracklins were such neat touch- they weren’t a hit with everyone at our table, but we all agreed that we appreciated the creative idea.
Course 4 was a Grilled Sturgeon with Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Rota, Fire Roasted Trinity Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion & Crab Broth, Kalamata Olives & Andouille from Chef Rose. The sturgeon in this dish really stood out for its smoky flavor, which suited this firm, hearty fish very well. The puree of roasted red pepper was used to make pasta- delicious and a great way to highlight the ingredient.
By the end of the evening, we were impressed by the previous dishes, but a little apprehensive about the final courses. Would the chefs really do a fish dessert? And fish…for dessert?!? They did indeed.
Course 5 was a Vanilla Chiffon with Lemon Cream, Mint Pickled Sturgeon & Honey Apple Perfect Puree from Chef Ingram. The presentation was gorgeous. Amazingly, the mint pickled sturgeon was light and refreshing.
Course 6 was a Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Perfect Puree Stone Fruit & Vodka Soup, Candied Sturgeon, Roasted Pistachios & Mint from Chef Rose. This dish was really interesting- the puree stands out and was delicious with the panna cotta. The candied sturgeon was an interesting invention, and our table had very strong opinions about it. I loved it- it was my favorite use of the sturgeon all night- but didn’t really care for it with the panna cotta, which was the consensus with most of my table mates. One person suggested that the candied sturgeon would be great on a salad with goat cheese instead, and I heartily agree.
It was an extremely interesting battle, and the chefs really impressed us with their creativity with these two disparate ingredients. In the end, Chef Adam Rose and his team from Il Palio pulled out a close win, so they are on to the semi-finals. Congratulations, Chef Rose!