cheffed-up

CHEF UP Your Super Bowl

The Jags may have lost, but your party can still be a winner

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Americans have a lot of party days: Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and so on. The undisputed king of party days, however, is Super Sunday. More Americans attend parties on this cold February day than any other party day all year. It’s the last football game for six long, agonizing months. I’ve put together a few Super ideas for your game day snacks.

The usual suspects are tired, monotonous. This includes the ever-popular spinach-and-artichoke dip. I like to think of it as the green bean casserole of party foods, ’cause all the ingredients are canned or frozen. A real shoemaker’s dream come true: Grind it up, slap it in a casserole and bake until your bubbly mess of sodium, preservatives and fat is golden brown. YUM! Another ho-hum is the infamous seven-layer dip. What a genius creation! Seven separate prepared foods carefully layered so they wind up with the aroma and consistency of regurgitated baby food. It’s to die for! (Yet after a few Bud Lights, who really cares?)

It doesn’t have to be that way. Simple, traditional Super Bowl party food can easily be outstanding. Here are some Cheffed-Up ideas to get you going.

If you must have wings, try something a little out of the ordinary, like Asian sticky wings. When I make them, I need only one pot, in which I partially fry the wings, remove them, drain excess fat and make my sauce in the same pan. Then I return the wings and simmer till they’re cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a sticky, salty, citrusy, spicy thing of goodness.

Pigs-in-a-blanket, another party favorite, has tons of potential. Instead of insipid, bland cocktail weenies, try kielbasa sausage. First, cut off the pointy ends, then poke every half-inch with a toothpick on two sides and soak in a good pilsner for several hours. Then dry them, roll in puff pastry, egg wash and bake. After they’ve cooled a bit, cut into bite-sized pieces and serve with a beer-infused mustard.

I could go on and on about fun little twists on Super Bowl snacks, but I’m out of room. Try this recipe for a savory pâté à choux. It’s a winner!
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Chef Bill’s 
Gruyere & Prosciutto Puffs

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup country ham, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere, plus 36 half-inch cubes

Directions

  1. Bring butter, salt and water to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the flour, beating vigorously to incorporate. Continue to beat over heat until a ball forms and begins to pull away from the sides—about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cool for a couple minutes. Transfer to a bowl, beat the eggs in one at a time. When all eggs are incorporated, mix in the ham, cheese and pepper.
  4. Place mix in a piping bag with a star tip and pipe 1-1/2 inch rosettes on a silt pat, press a small crater in the middle of each rosette and bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Place one cube of cheese in each crater and continue to bake until cheese is melted.

Until we cook again,
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Email Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Fernandina Beach’s Amelia Island Culinary Academy, at cheffedup@folioweekly.com, for inspiration and get Cheffed-Up!

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