One of my major pet peeves used to be seeing–and especially hearing–people eat on TV. Those snack commercials with the close-ups of psychotically enthusiastic people crunching a chip grossed me out, and I could not understand why advertisers would feature people extolling the virtues of their product with full-mouth-induced speech impediments: “Wow, thatsh sho tashty!”
Honestly, I still hate those commercials, but ironically, I love watching the Food Network and other food based reality shows. For one thing, rarely are chewing or crunching sounds audible when food is sampled. Thank you, sound engineers. And also, they seem to train their show hosts to speak clearly with a big honkin’ mouth full of a fussily arranged and pleasantly garnished dish.
Bill and I relax and unwind at night while watching The Next Food Network Star, America’s Next Great Restaurant, and Hell’s Kitchen, among others. One of the appealing things about these shows–besides feeling superior when experienced chefs mess up a rudimentary task, such as cooking pasta–is that sometimes their creations and/or ingredients are intriguing. This will occasionally inspire us to try new foods and new recipes.
For example, Bill’s mouth was watering like Homer Simpson dreaming of donuts while watching The Next Food Network Star last week. Contestant Vic Vegas Moea was making lamb burgers, and lamb is one of Bill’s favorites. So, the next day we hit the grocery store so that he could buy the ingredients and try it out. While he was in the bakery department, futilely searching for individual hamburger buns (he really didn’t need a package of eight), I wandered around perusing the rest of the baked goods, doing my own Homer Simpson impression. I snagged a bag of pretzel bagels and skipped over to add them to the cart, just as Bill noticed packages of freshly baked Tandoori Naan.
Naan is a type of bread that we have seen on various cooking shows–usually used by Indian-influenced chefs. It is a leavened flatbread cooked in a tandoor (a clay oven). We had never tasted it before, and Bill decided on the spur of the moment that he was going to use it, instead of a bun, for his lamb burger. We got home, and Bill went to work on Vic’s recipe, while I tried to decide what I was going to have for lunch–I do not eat lamb.
I took a look at what we had around the kitchen, and decided to do a bruschetta type of creation. I brushed both sides of my piece of naan with olive oil, topped it with sliced golden tomatoes and basil from our garden, and finished it with some fresh grated parmesan cheese. I put it under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. Holy cow, was it ever spectacular! The naan was pillow-y soft, with just a bit of chew. I will be purchasing it often from now on. I truly think just about anything would taste better on it or with it, but it really was a fantastic complement to my simple toppings. Just consider it my Italian-Indian fusion experiment. Sounds classy–like it could be on one of those shows.
Here is the link to the lamb burger, which Bill describes as one the best things he’s ever eaten! (He didn’t use anything from our garden, but I had to post the recipe since he liked it so much. The “mayoli” has garlic in it, and we do grow garlic–it just isn’t ready yet. And it calls for dried basil–guess he could have used fresh, but he stuck to the directions on this one).
LAMB BURGERS WITH CARAMELIZED RED ONIONS, MAYOLI AND FETA