KITCHEN REVOLUTION. Through these tasty recipes, street food maestro Chef Matt Basile gives insights on how he quickly made it to the top of the food chain
Since capturing the attention of fond foodies with his “rebellious” sandwiches, Chef Matt Basile appears to be doing everything right. The self-professed Elvis fan and man behind the Toronto-based Fidel Gastro’s street food brand mixes and matches flavor profiles and cuisines to create truly novel dining experiences. To get an idea of what his dishes might encompass, think peanut butter pulled pork with bacon jam and crackling pigskin. Thanks to his innovative approach to food, not to mention his advertising and marketing background, Chef Basile went on to open his own food truck (“Priscilla,” as he calls her, named after Elvis Presley’s wife), star in his own television show on Travel and Escape network’s “Rebel Without a Kitchen,” and establish his first restaurant, Lisa Marie.
As part of “Matt Basile’s Kitchen Revolution” tour in Asia—which was tied up with the premiere of the second season of “Rebel Without a Kitchen”—the energetic chef made a pit stop in Jakarta to delight diners with his innate food savvy. It’s a surprise to learn that, despite the wide appeal of his dishes, Chef Basile has never had formal culinary training. Nevertheless, his passion for food clearly translates into each of the unique dishes he creates.
OCTOPUS WITH FENNEL AND BLOOD ORANGE
To serve six persons
This impressive and flavorful opener is one that packs a little bit of sweetness, a little saltiness and a whole lot of interesting textures.
• 2kg octopus
• 6 lemons
• 2 large fennels
• ½ cup of rice wine vinegar
• kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
• 4 large oranges
• ¼ cup of capers
• ¼ cup of all-purpose our
• 250ml hoisin sauce
• 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
• 2 limes, quartered
• 100ml olive oil
Take the whole octopus and place it in a large pot with enough water so that the octopus is slightly covered. Cut all the lemons in half and throw them into the water with their rind on. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the octopus, covered, for approximately one hour.
After an hour, remove the octopus from the hot water and let it cool for approximately 10 minutes. Wash the octopus under cold water to help remove the membrane. Cut the leafy fennel tips o of the fennel, and place them in water. Cut o and discard the green stems on the fennel and keep the large white section. Slice it thinly, and put it in a bowl with the rice wine vinegar so that the acid cooks the fennel down a bit. Drain the fennel after approximately 30 minutes, and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Using a cheese grater, zest the oranges and set the zest aside. Slice the flesh from the oranges into small pieces and set those aside. Gently toss the capers in a small bowl of our. Fry the capers in a little bit of olive oil for approximately five minutes or until they become crispy.
Coat the octopus with hoisin sauce, and grill in a hot skillet over high heat for approximately five minutes. Since the octopus is already cooked, the aim of grilling it is only to char the surface. Place down a bed of fennel, capers and orange flesh. Skewer the octopus and place it over the salad. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the octopus and garnish with leafy fennel tips, orange zest and fresh lime wedges.
SALSA VERDE GRILLED BEEF HEARTS
To serve four persons
Don’t be intimidated by the beef heart. Chef Basile has prepared this dish in such a way that even the most squeamish of eaters would enjoy this surprisingly refreshing appetizer.
• 1 beef heart cleaned and cut into one-inch pieces (no cartilage at all)
• Soy sauce
• 4 green tomatoes
• 6 cloves of garlic
• 4 lemons, juiced
• 1 bunch of cilantro
• 1 bunch of fresh basil
• 2 tomatillos
• 1 tbsp. salt
• 4 ai chili peppers
• Olive oil
Marinate the cleaned beef heart in soy sauce overnight. Skewer. To make the salsa verde, toast tomatillos until soft. Blitz the roasted tomatillos in a robot coupe or blender with the other ingredients. If it’s too chunky, add olive oil to thin it out. Add salt for taste.
Grill the skewered hearts on high heat for approximately three to four minutes per side. To serve, pour a layer of salsa verde onto the plate and place the cooked skewers of beef heart on top. Drizzle more salsa verde on the skewers once it has been placed. Serve with fresh lime, thinly shaved radishes and pea shoot garnishes.
SALT AND VINEGAR PRAWNS WITH PICKLED CIPOLINI ONIONS AND TRINITY SAUCE
To serve four persons
A noteworthy feature of this delectable main entrée: e trinity sauce is not a tomato sauce that has peppers, onion and celery, but instead a pepper, onion and celery sauce brought together with tomato. With this dish, it’s all about thinking outside the box.
• 1 stalk of celery
• 2 red peppers
• 2 Spanish onions
• 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
• 1 tbsp. kosher salt (approx)
• 1 tbsp. black pepper
• 1oz and 1 tbsp. salted butter, divided
• 1 tbsp. dried chilies
• 1 can (500 ml) of unseasoned tomato sauce
• Head-on prawns (five per order)
• 4 garlic cloves, thinly shaved
• Cipolini onions
Finely chop the celery, peppers and onion. In a large saucepan with a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat, lightly cook the celery, peppers and onion for approximately five minutes or until soft and brown. Toss in the paprika, salt and pepper, and stir until the vegetables absorb all of the seasoning. Add a quarter cup of water and a half ounce of the butter. Continue to stir the vegetables until all the butter is melted leaving a thick buttery sauce that covers the vegetables. Add in the dried chilies and give one last stir.
Dump in the can of tomato sauce and the remaining half ounce of butter, and let it reduce for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until thick. Take your head-on prawns and carefully remove the shell from around the body but leave the tail and heads fully intact. Run a knife down the back side of the prawn. Use your finger to scrape down the back to clean.
Melt the tablespoon of butter in a skillet over high heat for approximately two minutes. until brown. Add the thinly shaved garlic and cook for one minute. Add the head-on prawns. Cook the prawns in the brown butter and garlic for approximately four minutes per side. Soak the cipolinis in oil and reroast them. Let them sit in apple cider vinegar and salt to give them a light pickling. Garnish the entire dish with grated parmesan and finely chopped green onion.
ELVIS IN A JAR
To serve four persons
It’s a well-known fact that Elvis’ favorite sandwich was a peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich. As an ode to the “King,” Chef Matt recreated one of his favorite dishes, all within the connes of a rustic mason jar.
• 4 mason jars (250 ml each)
• 4 egg yolks
• ¼ cup of white sugar
• ¼ cup of Marsala
• 2 bananas
• 250ml maple syrup, divided
• 2oz dark rum
• 500ml whipping cream
• 250ml sweet peanut butter
• 8 slices of brioche bread
• 6 eggs
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
To make the zabaglione, find a large glass bowl that can be set into a cooking pot, making sure there is space between the bottom of the glass bowl and the water in the pot. Boil the pot of water over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the water to simmer. Carefully place the bowl in the pot, and mix the egg yolks with the sugar in the bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Be careful not to whisk too quickly or overheat the water because the zabaglione has to remain uncooked.
Slowly pour in the Marsala and remove the bowl from the heat. Continue to whisk. The aim is to make a thick, foamy, velvety, yellow cream. Once you have the desired texture, set the zabaglione in the fridge. Cut the banana into small pieces and cook them for approximately five minutes in a non-stick pan over medium heat with one tablespoon of maple syrup. Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut each slice of bacon in half and place them on a baking sheet. Coat each slice with maple syrup and rum. Bake the bacon slices for approximately six minutes or until the bacon caramelizes. Be cautious of the bacon burning; it can go from under-cooked to burnt very quickly. Once bacon has become crispy, brush on one more coat of maple syrup. Take half the bacon and chop it into small pieces, and keep the remainder as full pieces.
Pour whipping cream into a bowl and use an electric mixer to give it body. Add the sweet peanut butter to the mixing bowl and continue to mix it until you have peanut butter whipped cream. Place it in the fridge, uncovered. Cut each piece of brioche bread into quarters and dip into egg wash (scramble the eggs together in a bowl). Melt a little bit of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat, and grill the bread for approximately two minutes on each side until it is golden brown.
Take a piece of the quartered French toast and use it as the rst layer in the jar. Build up with a layer of the zabaglione, then crumbled candied bacon, and bananas. Top it with another piece of brioche French toast. Slather it with peanut butter whipped cream. e zabaglione and the peanut butter whip cream might need a quick whip up with a fork or spoon before they go in.
Chef Matt Basile is the man behind Fidel Gastro’s, a street food chain based in Toronto, and was recently in Asia to promote the second season of his “Rebel without a Kitchen” TV show
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