Monday, June 28, 2010

Food Revolution: Chicken Chow Mein to Basil Fennel Chicken Pasta

I remixed another recipe from Jamie's Food Revolution last night and tonight, and I think I won again. To be fair, the thing I made using Jamie's Chicken Chow Mein recipe hardly looked like the thing in the book. His looks soupier (I assume the "if necessary" step seemed necessary to him), and I don't think that would have been a good thing. Then again, maybe I had a lot of yumminess stuck to my pan that he released. If I make it again, I'll probably try the wet version, and I'll use sliced water chestnuts instead of whole. Otherwise, this was pretty darned tasty. It was good, but I don't think it was as good as the alternate version I made last night. Note: If you make it, make sure you get actual chow mein noodles, not the dry things La Choy or whoever calls chow mein; those aren't the same thing (as is probably obvious from the photo).

For my remix, I substituted the following:

  • Bay leaves for cilantro
  • Fennel for bok choy (roughly as much fennel as a baby bok choy)
  • Thin spaghetti for chow mein noodles
  • Olive oil for peanut oil
  • 6-oz can black olives for 8-oz can water chestnuts
  • A large handful of largish cherry tomatoes (larger than cherry tomatoes, smaller than normal tomatoes, I can't think of what they called them) for the hell of it; I think I meant for them to replace the bok choy, but then I saw the fennel and the gears turned
Prepare everything using Jamie's recipe, but with the substitutions above (adding the quartered tomatoes to the veggie stir fry mix, but reserving a couple quarters for the pretty). Also, rather than simply cutting it in half like the bok choy, chop the fennel up. You want it to have lots of surface area in the water, so it can get tamed a bit.

This very much may be one of those things that other people can't stand, but I thought this was super, super tasty. I think it's the tastiest thing I've ever cooked. It was the first time I'd used fennel, and I was really worried once I tasted it raw (raw fennel tastes like black licorice). Boiling it for a few minutes calmed the flavor down considerably, though. I was also considering leaving out the ginger in my version, since ginger isn't used much in Italian cooking, while the rest of the ingredients felt fairly Italian. Luckily I saw an article online discussing a new trend of "Indian-Italian fusion," and I thought that sounded like such a wonderful idea I had to leave the ginger in. I doubted myself again when I decided to go with the fennel (licorice and ginger? won't that be too much?), but I'm so glad I left it in.

This might be it for a while. I need to use up some leftovers this week, and then I'm out of town for two weeks. I'll have my copy of the book with me, though, so maybe I'll do a remix while I'm up in Michigan.

If you have any ideas for what I should call this thing (because I'll certainly be making it again), let me know in the comments.

1 comment:

McCarron said...

If it's to be American haute cuisine I say add some heat and call it the Tet Offensive. Not only is it inaccurate, but you have the word "offensive" right in the name so no one is surprised!