Guess what I just bought? Ok, I'll tell ya... Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook! Yeah!!! He is one of my very favorite chefs and I was beyond thrilled when I saw that there was a cookbook in existence with
actual recipes from his NYC restaurant, Mesa Grill. He has other locations, like Las Vegas, but I've only been to the one in NYC, a couple times. I LOVE IT. I've eaten there every time I've visited NYC and will continue to do so because it's that good. I know why I love his restaurant. It's because he cooks things that I would want to cook if I had a restaurant. I love his southwestern style of cooking. I love the spice and I LOVE LOVE LOVE tamales and he does them better than anyone. Boy can make a tamale, damn it. Have any of you eaten there? What did you think?
So needless to say, when I got home from Barnes and Noble, I couldn't WAIT to crack open this book and read it until my eyes crossed. I started to see recipes for items that Mark and I have ordered at his restaurant, including the BBQ-Duck-Filled Blue Corn Pancakes with Habanero Sauce. We had that as an appetizer the first time we visited Mesa Grill and it was out of this world. Oh trust me, you will see that recipe made on this blog, guaranteed. In fact, you may become quite sick to death of all the Bobby Flay cooking I will be doing this year, but guess what? Don't care! hahaha... Don't worry, I promise you, he doesn't know how to make bad food.
That brings me to my first attempt at making something from this book. We were invited to dinner at our friends' house, so I said I would bring an appetizer. I wanted it to be fairly easy because I didn't have a ton of time to make it, so I decided on this one with that there de-lic-ious smoked salmon. Yum!!! Where did I get the smoked salmon, uh Costco baby! It was good stuff, too. Kirkland Signature Smoked Salmon imported from Norway. If you're at Costco, pick some up.
This appetizer turned out very tasty, but very spicy. Now, for me, that is not a problem, nor is it a problem for Mark. We're just spicy hounds, but for others, it may have been a little too spicy. I could have toned it down just a bit and it would have been okay, but honestly, if you don't mind a spicy-sweetness, then just follow the recipe to the T and hang on tight because it was very good.
I won't be posting the recipe at the end of this post, however, because I wasn't able to easily find it on the Food Network website or the Mesa Grill website, so apparently he'd like you to buy the cookbook to get these recipes. However, I will be describing how I made it, so you may be able to just figure it out from there. But please, just go buy his book. There are TONS of full color beautiful pictures in it and it is currently my favorite cookbook.
So without further ado, here is how I made it.
I started by making the mango-serrano crema. The first thing you want to do is roast your serrano peppers. If they're small, use 2-3. If they're larger, use 1-2. It really depends on your desired spiciness. Roast the oiled, salted, and peppered serranos in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Place them in a plastic bag for a couple minutes so the skins loosen, then peel off the skins.
Next, cut them in half length-wise and remove the seeds with the tip of your knife. Once you've seeded them, finely dice them.
I then diced up my mango. Keep in mind the very middle of the mango has a core, so you want to slice a little off center for your first half. Next, score the fruit with your knife into little bite size pieces.
Now, turn the fruit inside out, so the chunks of fruit stick out like so. You can just pick them off with your fingers, or cut them off using your knife. Do that with both sides of the mango, then finely dice the mango pieces so you don't end up with big chunks in your finished sauce.
Combine a 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream, your serrano peppers, your mango, some chopped red onion, salt and pepper and stir together until everything is well incorporated. The sweet juices from the mango really get into this sauce and turn it into the perfect consistency and flavor. Now cover the sauce with plastic wrap and get it into the fridge so the flavors can walk down the aisle.
Onto the corn pancakes. These are tasty and would be great for breakfast too. Start by combining 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/2 cup flour, some baking powder, kosher salt, and honey. Mix together until crumbly. In another bowl, beat together 1 egg, a little over a 1/2 cup of whole milk, and a tablespoon of butter. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together to form a batter.
Using about 2 tablespoons worth of batter for each, cook your corn pancakes on a cast iron griddle (or non stick pan) using cooking spray before each set of pancakes are poured. They should be about 3 inches in diameter.
As with any pancake, when you first start to see bubbles in the batter, it's time to flip them.
Cook them until they're golden brown on both sides, then cool on a wire rack.
To assemble the appetizer, place one pancake on the plate. Top with a little mango-serrano crema, then a slice of smoked salmon. Repeat this again for the second layer, then again for the third layer, except dab a little more of the sauce on top of the piece of salmon, then garnish with a beautiful sprig of cilantro.
I very much enjoyed this recipe and will definitely make it again in the future (right after I cook everything else in this book!). Now, go run out and buy your copy of this book!