“Fire on the Rock” Battle Triggerfish Recap, Chef Miner vs Chef Brian

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“Fire on the Rock” brings the area’s culinary stars out to prove their skills. It is part of the annual “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series. Eight local chefs face the challenge of using local foods to create dishes that will convince the judges they are the best. And those judges are you. The Fire on the Rock preliminaries continued through Thursday night at The Lioncrest on the Biltmore Estate. Next week the the semi-finals go down Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Go to competitiondining.com for tickets and more details.

WLOS ABC 13 went behind the scenes to bring you a glimpse of what Competition Dining is all about

Scene on 7 talks to diners during Battle Triggerfish

Battle Triggerfish Recap

There is only one thing to say about Battle Triggerfish……….BACON!!! Don’t get me wrong, all courses were delicious, and both Chef Matthew Miner formerly of The Asheville Public, soon to start at The Blackbird Restaurant and Chef Jason Brian from Jack of the Wood really stepped up to the challenge and created delicious and beautiful dishes……..but!

Team Jack of the Wood (left), Team Miner (right)
Team Jack of the Wood (left), Team Miner (right)

It was a challenge that came down to one defining course. “Bacon & Eggs.” Triggerfish “Bacon”, Soft Truffled Egg, Toast and Coffee Panna Cotta by Team Miner recieved the highest score of the evening, a weighted score of 79.80.

"Bacon and Eggs," Team Miner
“Bacon and Eggs,” Team Miner

On his team was the very talented Chef Eden Roorda who was the mastermind behind the candied, smoked triggerfish bacon. The plating itself was playful and creative. The scramble eggs were soft and fluffy and served in an egg shell nestle into a hole cut out in the bread. The panna cotta was light and airy, with just the right hint of coffee and touch of sweetness. The bacon, the shining piece de resistance, was eagerly devoured by all. I don’t think anyone talked about much else the rest of the evening and I was incredibly happy when Chef Roorda offered to share the recipe.

Triggerfish “Bacon” by Chef Roorda

2lbs triggerfish , skin off filet and cut into strips lengthwise (I plan to try this using several types of fish)

Cure:

1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon fennel seed
6 bay leaves crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp crushed black pepper

Start soaking about 4 cups of hickory wood chips in warm water.  soak for at least an hour.
In a big bowl gently pack the dry mix on the strips of fish completely coating each piece.  Put a rack on top of a sheet tray and put the fish strip by strip not touching on the rack.  Set aside for 30-40 min.  rinse each strip under cold running water to remove any excess salt and sugar.  Put back on the rack and let it air dry for 30 min.

Preheat an oven to 200 F

Set up an indoor smoker by putting the soaked chips in the bottom of a large hotel pan and put a perforated hotel pan on top of that. Put over two burners and turn on low until you see wisps of smoke.  Put the fish in the pan strip by strip trying to keep from touching too much. cover tightly with tin foil and smoke for 30-40 min.

Make the lacquer:

1cup of molasses
1 tsp pink peppercorn crushed
1 tsp green peppercorn crushed
1 tsp white peppercorn crushed
1/2 cup lusty munk honey mustard
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup brown sugar

Put everything in a sauce pot and simmer gently until it reduces into a syrup like consistency.
After smoking the fish pull the perforated pan off of the bottom piece and put inside a clean hotel pan. brush a thin layer of lacquer over each individual strip of fish and put into the 200 degree oven.  Every 10 min pull the pan out and brush more lacquer on the fish.  Keep doing this until the fish has dried and hardened like bacon or candy.  Should take about an hour.

The Dishes:

Course 1
Triggerfish Medallion with Coconut-Chili Broth, Lobster Dumpling and Green-Papaya Salad, Chef Miner, weighted score 65.89.

Course 1 Triggerfish Medallion  with Coconut-Chili Broth, Lobster Dumpling and Green-Papaya Salad

Course 2

Triggerfish Meatball in Smoked-Tomato and Crab Piedmontese Sauce, Basil-Goat Cheese Polenta Cakes, Chef Brian, weighted score 55.92.

Course 2 Triggerfish Meatball Smoked-Tomato and Crab Piedmontese Sauce, Basil-Goat Cheese Polenta Cakes

Course 3

Tempura Triggerfish Role with Ginger-Shiitake Duxelle, Five-Spice Syrup & Triggerfish Cracklin’, Chef Miner, weighted score 66.33

Course 3 Tempura Triggerfish Role  with Ginger-Shiitake Duxelle, Five-Spice Syrup & Triggerfish Cracklin’

Course 4

Seared Triggerfish  with Sweet Potato-Apple Puree, Potato Crisp, Pickled Carrot & Apple Skin, Green-Apple Reduction, Chef Brian, weighted score 58.11

Course 4 Seared Triggerfish Sweet Potato-Apple Puree, Potato Crisp, Pickled Carrot & Apple Skin, Green-Apple Reduction
Course 5

“Bacon & Eggs”  Triggerfish Bacon, Soft Truffled Egg and Toast, Coffee Panna Cotta. Chef Miner, weighted score 79.80

Course 5 “Bacon & Eggs” Triggerfish Bacon, Soft Truffled Egg and Toast, Coffee Panna Cotta

Course 6

Candied Fish Skin with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet, Lemon Doughnut and Balsamic Reduction. Chef Brian, weighted score 58.74.

Course 6 Candied Fish Skin with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet, Lemon Doughnut and Balsamic Reduction

Final Scores by Chef

Contestant Voter % Score Pros % Score Final Weighted % Score
Miner 72.439 66.667 70.70731707
Brian 59.167 53.889 57.58333333

Special Thanks to the sponsors for making the “Got to be NC” Competition Dining Series possible.  North Carolina Department of AgricultureSouthern Foods/Pate Dawson,Crippen’s Country Inn & RestaurantOur State magazine and local partners in each region of the state.

The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across our state.

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