Saturday, February 20, 2010

Battle Cheese

For Battle Cheese, Iron Chef returned to Brooklyn—with two new teams! Danielle and Mary Beth battled Alessandro and Jamie, neither of whom had even seen a game before. Would ignorance be bliss? Read on to find out.

Danielle and Mary Beth
Team 1, Dish #1: Wisconsin Beer-and-Cheese Soup with Spicy Cheese Straws

This velvety cheddar soup was topped with crumbled bacon and served with cheese twists that packed some heat.

"The twist tastes like a Cheeze-It at first!" said judge Dave. "And then the pepper kicks in."

Team 1, Dish #2: Watercress, Hazelnut, Grapefruit salad served with a Parmesan Tuile

This refreshing salad course was meant to contrast the heaviness of the other courses.

"The nuts bring out the nuttiness of the Parmesan," said judge Sherri, while others wondered if the dish was cheesey-enough for the cheese to be the star.

Team 1, Dish #3: Pimento-Cheese Sliders with Honey-Bacon Slaw

Who doesn't love a cheeseburger? Team 1 served a playful take on the classic with a creamy pimento cheese spread beneath a cheese-studded burger and a fresh slaw.

Team 1, Dish #4: Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake with Tequila-Cinnamon Whipped Cream

As the oohs turned to aahs (and ouches), it was immediately clear that this was the star of Team 1's day. A shockingly spicy dessert, the heat was balanced by the cooling whipped cream. Judges raved about every aspect—the crust, the creamy and dense filling, the whollop of aggressive heat, and the tasty whipped cream accompaniment.

Mary Beth and Danielle smile for the camera, glad that their cooking was finished, at least for the day.

Jamie and Alessandro
Team 2, Dish #1: Burrata Panzanella with Pesto

This richly flavorful Tuscan bread salad featured crusty bread soaked in tomato water and olive oil, served with fresh burrata cheese (described as a soft mozzarella) and a homemade Parmesan-basil pesto. Judges loves that the bread retained its crunch, and that the pesto tasted even cheesier on its own.

Team 2, Dish #2: Three Cheese Risotto

The decadent risotto was topped with taleggio, Parmesan, and panna cheese, and flavored with red wine and radicchio. Judges adored the complexity and richness, but debated if it was a touch too al dente, or if their palates had been tainted by bad American risottos.

Team 2, Dish #3: Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce and Blood Orange Salad

The salad that accompanied this dish was an interesting mix of blood orange segments, black olives, red onions, and greens—a refreshing palate cleanser after six dishes of cheese. But it was the tenderloin that was unforgettable. Sliced thin and served medium, the beef was tender, and the smooth, creamy sauce offered just enough blue cheese tang.

Team 2, Dish #4: Whisky-Mascarpone Cream with Hazelnuts and a Nutella Crust

A decadent end to a rich meal. Judges loved the flavor, the texture... everything about it.

So would Jamie and Alessandro be able to win on their first visit?

The answer was yes! The newcomers were victorious. Congratulations Jamie and Alessandro on a job well done! They return next month to try their hand in Battle Breakfast. Stay tuned....


  1. Another great battle, the chef's out did themselves.

  2. Hot stuff! They can make me breakfast anytime.