Supreme Cuisine: Iron Chefs' Favorite Recipes
The battle: Buffalo (January 2005)
The feat: Braised buffalo in record time
When you compete as often as Bobby Flay does, it's easy to fall into a pattern. So he pushes himself to do something different each time, even if that means packing two time-consuming dishes like ribs and loin onto one plate, as he did during Battle Buffalo. To make the ribs fall off the bone in less than 60 minutes, Flay boiled, deep-fried and braised them. "I would never boil ribs unless I needed them to cook in a ridiculously short amount of time, which is what I have on Iron Chef," he says. The method worked perfectly, and Flay's tender ribs helped triumph against Chicago chef Rick Bayless.
Native American Buffalo Plate
Should you wish to recreate Battle Buffalo at home, you'll need a big freezer. This dish requires a whole loin and a full rack of ribs.
Get the Recipe: Native American Buffalo Plate
The battle: Swordfish (November 2007)
The feat: Swordfish collar
Every second counts when you have one hour to prepare five courses. Michael Symon learned this quickly when he was a contestant on the first season of The Next Iron Chef. During the season finale against John Besh, Symon decided to make a labor-intensive braised swordfish dish, which requires tons of chopping. He stayed focused, and it worked: The dish helped him win the battle and take his place among the other Iron Chefs. "Don't get distracted," Symon advises future contenders. "Keep your head down and cook your food!"
Braised Swordfish Collar With Chorizo and Clams
Symon had to butcher the whole fish just to get the rich fatty collar cut.
Get the Recipe: Braised Swordfish Collar With Chorizo and Clams
The battle: Parmigiano-Reggiano (September 2007)
The feat: Pasta in a flaming wheel of parmigiano-reggiano
During one of the most memorable battles in Iron Chef America history, Mario Batali defeated New York City chef Andrew Carmellini with a spectacle of a dish: fettuccine served from a hollowed-out half-wheel of cheese, which he doused with grappa and lit on fire so the cheese would melt into the pasta. After the alcohol burned off, he whisked the mixture to create a smooth serving bowl for his fresh spinach pasta. As if that weren't enough, Batali finished the dish with shavings from what judge Art Smith called "the largest white truffle ever put on television."
Spinach Fettuccine With Parmigiano-Reggiano
The large white truffle Batali shaved onto this dish would cost you about $750.
Get the Recipe: Spinach Fettuccine With Parmigiano-Reggiano
The battle: Eggplant (March 2006)
The feat: Eggplant soup with curry-flavored cotton candy
Just like when she cooks for her family, Cat Cora says she starts off each battle by thinking, "What do I feel like tonight? Mexican? Indian? Italian?" Then she picks a cuisine and runs with it, carrying it through the whole meal. For Battle Eggplant, when she competed against Los Angeles chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Cora stuck to a Mediterranean theme, but surprised judges with twists such as a cotton-candy topping. "It went voooop! and melted right in," she says.
Charred Eggplant Soup
At first glance, this eggplant soup seemed traditional, but Cat elevated it to an Iron Chef level of excellence by topping it with Vanilla-Curry Cotton Candy.
Get the Recipe: Charred Eggplant Soup
Vanilla-Curry Cotton Candy
This was the first time a chef used a cotton-candy machine in Kitchen Stadium.
Get the Recipe: Vanilla-Curry Cotton Candy
The battle: Ribs and Racks (November 2009)
The feat: German-inspired food from a Latin chef
Just a year ago, Jose Garces was competing as a finalist on The Next Iron Chef. Going into the finale, he knew the judges were expecting him to stay true to his roots in Asian and Latin cooking, so he threw them for a loop with this perfectly executed dish, inspired by the flavors of Germany. The gamble paid off: Garces won the challenge against Jehangir Mehta and became the newest Iron Chef. "Sticking to your strengths is good, but you can't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone," he says. "The judges are definitely looking for that."
Oven-Roasted Pork Loin With Chanterelle-Mustard Sauce
Garces miraculously finished this dish plus four others in less than an hour.
Get the Recipe: Oven-Roasted Pork Loin With Chanterelle-Mustard Sauce
The battle: Asparagus (October 2005)
The feat: Asparagus ice cream
As the longest-standing Iron Chef, Morimoto is all too familiar with the quirks of Kitchen Stadium (he was a regular on the original Japanese TV series Iron Chef). So before battle, he does a lap around the kitchen to make sure everything's in working order. "Check all of the equipment especially the appliances," he says. Without worrying about his machines breaking down, the chef can whip up winning dishes like this asparagus ice cream, which he made during Battle Asparagus years ago against Michael Symon, before Symon joined him as an Iron Chef.
Asparagus Ice Cream
The ice cream wasn't enough Morimoto paired it with blast-chilled, chocolate-dipped pressure-cooked asparagus
served in iced rum.
Take a peek at the newest Iron Chef contestants and judges
Get the Recipe: Asparagus Ice Cream
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