What do you get when you mix three random ingredients (squash, strawberry jam, and garlic), forty minutes, and an imaginary panel of expert judges? The first ever Craving Mad “Chopped” Challenge!
Last week, people posted sets of three ingredients to @craving_mad on Instagram– ranging from Capn’ Crunch Cereal to Sweetbreads. To keep it fair, I drew the winner blindly, and got this tricky, but interesting combination:
I picked a few things up from the store, but couldn’t find straight strawberry jam…I probably would’ve wasted the rest of it anyway. Instead, I subbed in some awesome Strawberry-Rhubarb jam Dani and I already had in the fridge. Once I got home, I set some stuff up, and started a timer: 40 minutes. Game on.
Step 1: Sauce. I added some balsamic vinegar, basil, lemon thyme, and pepper to the jam in a small pot, and simmered it until it reduced, and thickened. I also wrapped a few peeled garlic cloves in oil with a tablespoon of butter, and let that roast.
Step 2: Since I didn’t have the best salami on hand, I flashed it on high heat to render out some fat, and use it to sauté the zucchini.
Step 3: Just a picture for the story…with ten minutes to go.
Step 4: Quick Havarti cheese crostini– nothing else but olive oil and salt.
Step 5: Remove garlic from the oven, and smash into a paste with salt. This stuff is addictive, by the way…
Step 6: Plate, and serve– as always!
I managed to get this all done within 40 minutes, but it was definitely a challenge. This turned out really well–and I’d probably make this again with a few adjustments. This is a pretty easy thing to throw together– especially if you’ve been following the blog for a while, and don’t have a looming countdown clock in front of you. I’ll definitely do another one of the challenges again this year.
Here’s the full ingredient list:
1 Salami, sliced thinly
1 Zucchini, cubed
4 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbs Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
4 Basil Leaves
3 Sprigs of Lemon Thyme
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Cup Havarti Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Chili Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste