Saturday, 13 February 2010

Mothership Wit Superbowl Skewers

Well my first entry into Paper Chef (49) is done!

Looking at the ingredients, (prawns, sweet peppers, fennel and Passion) I thought I would start with the esoteric ingredient first and work from there. What is my passion, in a culinary sense? What do I want to make, to try and eventually blog about? What is it that I want to share with the world? For that answer I have to look no further than the name of my blog; Brewing Beer and cooking on the BBQ. Also we have Superbowl 44 happening during this challenge, and many people are very passionate about that! I happened to be having few guests over to watch the game, so in addition to the normal snackykins that one finds at such events, I wanted to do something a little different.

So I have my cooking method down (Grill) and one extra ingredient (Beer). Beer makes an excellent acid base for a marinade, but what kind of beer would go good with the other 3 ingredients? Something light, so as not to overpower the flavor of the shrimp, but something that might complement the fennel. A Belgian witbierr sounded like just the thing. I decided to go with Mothership Wit by New Belgium Brewing. I have been enjoying it a lot lately and I haven’t gotten around to brewing my own witbier yet. Mothership Wit is a light organic wheat beer beer that is seasoned with coriander and orange peel.

Keeping with these light zesty flavors, along with the history of the fennel lead me to use a mediteranian feel with the dish, using garlic and dill to finish the marinade.
I’ve seen fennel on countless cooking shows, but I’ve never worked with it before. When I got it home I sliced off a tiny bit to taste it. It’s definitely got a unique flavor profile. The way I described it is anise crossed with the texture of an onion. Much of the research suggests that it can be roasted, and from that I extrapolate that if it can be roasted, it can be grilled.
Sweet pepper is basically bell pepper from what I’ve been able to find out.
From the kitchen dictionary at “In the U.S. the term sweet pepper covers a wide variety of mild peppers that, like the chile, belong to the capsicum family. The best known sweet peppers are bell peppers, named for their bell-like shape.” So that makes that ingredient pretty easy to work with. Here is my final recipe:

Mothership Wit Superbowl Skewers
1 Fennel
2 Red Peppers
1 lb of uncooked, peeled, deveined prawns
18 oz of New Belgiums Mothership Wit Belgian whitebeer
3 gloves of chopped garlic
¼ cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Fresh Dill
Dash of Kosher salt
Dash of freshly ground black Pepper.

Chop fennel, red peppers into chunks. Detail the prawns, place all 3 in large non-reactive bowl. In large measuring cup combine beer, garlic, dill, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix to form marinade. Pour the marinade over vegetables and prawns and refrigerate. Marinate at least 2 hours. Get your charcoal ready and start skewering. Cook 7-10 minutes per side.

How did it come out? Pretty much everyone agreed that the prawns were the best they had ever tasted, however the marinade didn't penetrate the vegetables as well as it did the meat. Fennel was new to everyone I presented it to, and it didn't go over great. This is primarily a carnivorous Superbowl crowd, so that it far from surprising. Overall, I felt the dish was a success. It was a lot of fun and got me thinking about food differently, and trying new things. Isn't that what paper chef is all about?

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