I had a serious case of deja vu last night. It happened while I was watching the premier of the second season of Top Chef Canada. There were 16 chefs and they had to create a dish that represented them and their hometown. There was a host that didn’t look familiar, but McEwan was there, same with Shareen, and Chef Michael Smith was there too. They ate the chefs’ meals in the Top Chef Canada dining room. I felt like I’d seen this all before. But it couldn’t be, this is a new season, a fresh start. There is no way they would repeat the first elimination challenge from the previous season. Right?
Wrong. I think Chef Michael Smith explained this weeks episode best when describing William Thompson’s dish, “it’s a bridge to nowhere” (Sam Roberts Band plug). This episode didn’t really take me anywhere. Last night was a repeat of last year’s season premiere, and William’s boring dish ended up sending him home. Don’t worry William there are always endorsements, but you’ll probably have to wait until next season for the commercial to air.
Trista’s meat and potatoes dish stood out for me (and the judges as well). Growing up, my mom always had meat and potatoes on the table, whether it was chicken and roasted potatoes, or pork chops and mashed. I’ve made veal scaloppini many times, I actually almost make it on a weekly basis, and I’ve made rosti once, in college. So I’ve decided to take on Trista’s winning dish: veal loin with rosti, fresh peas and corn cream.
Roasted Veal with rosti, fresh peas and corn cream
1 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
¼ white onions, diced
7 slices bacon, diced
675 g veal, eye of the round
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp rosemary, dried
1 tbsp olive oil
3 ears of corn
6 tbsp cream
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp smoked paprika
10 oz. peas
salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil potatoes in salted water for ten minutes
2. Let potatoes cool, once cooled coarsely grate.
3. Add onion, bacon and pepper.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F
5. Slice garlic cloves into quarters and pan fry until golden brown. Set garlic aside.
6. Salt and pepper the entire veal roast, and sear in the same pan as the garlic.
7. Add olive oil and rosemary to the garlic that was set aside, and pour the mixture over the veal roast.
8. Place seared veal in a roasting pan (with garlic and rosemary)
9. Roast for 45-50 mintues.
10. Boil corn for 10 minutes, then slice the kernels off the cob and place aside.
11. Place the potatoes in a non-stick pan and fry until golden brown. (You can do this in two batches, for about 15 minutes each)
12. Place corn kernels into blender with cream, paprika and black pepper. Blend until smooth.
13. Steam peas for 12 minutes, or until desired doneness.
14. Once veal is done, let it sit for 5 minutes before carving.
15. Serve and enjoy.
I couldn’t find veal loin, so I had to settle for eye of the round, which isn’t as tender as the loin. The thing I was worried about the most was the rosti, which is basically a fancy way of saying hash brown. Having made it only once before, I was nervous about the potatoes not binding. Even Trista, mentioned in the episode her embarrassment if the whole thing fell apart. Well it was amateur hour in my kitchen, as the rosti completely fell apart, and it ended up being just shredded pieces of potato with bacon and onions. I compacted it in a round plate and by the time I was done carving the veal, it seemed to stick.
Overall, the roast turned out well, and I actually enjoyed the corn cream, which added a whole new texture to corn. And the most importantly, the dish brought me back to my childhood, when we sat around the table, talked about our days and ate my mom’s meat and potatoes.
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