Once we find foods that we like, it is easy to fall into the habit of buying and preparing the same classic dishes over and over again. But by staying in our own food bubbles, we might be missing out on some fantastic dishes that are actually quite common in other parts of the world. That's why we invited the host of "Bizarre Foods", Andrew Zimmern, to fill us in on some of these delectable dishes.
Although many have heard about eating goat, not many Americans have actually ever tried it! Andrew recommends goat because it is lean, sustainable, cheap, and super delicious. You can find it at most restaurants serving Caribbean or Indian cuisine.Goat Meat
Natto is Japanese fermented soybeans. It has a very strong, pungent smell and has a taste similar to a funky cheese. According to Allison, natto is definitely an acquired taste, but if you do like it, it is extremely healthy for you. Natto can be purchased at almost any Japanese market (check the frozen section).Natto
At first glance, this fruit looks like a furry dinosaur egg, but when you open it up you reveal a soft, sweet fruit that tastes a lot like melon with the texture of a skinless grape. We found rambutan for sale at Whole Foods and at the Chinese market.Rambutan
Fromage de Tête (Head Cheese)
Head cheese is made from the head of a calf (or other animal) using parts like the tongue and cheeks to make a cold cut held together with aspic. Although eating tongue may not sound appetizing, the meats have a pot roast-like texture and its tastes like a very rich and yielding meat dish. Look for head cheese at any gourmet deli.
It's easy to see why eating octopus can be intimidating. It's not everyday that we encounter an animal with eight legs and suction cups on our dinner plate. But if you can look past the appearance of the dish, it is one of the most delicious and meaty seafoods you will ever have. The recipe for the octopus that was eaten on the show is below. Try it at home!
Grilled Octopus with Chickpeas
Recipe courtesy Michael Psilakis of Kefi Restaurant
Octopus is perhaps one of the most recognized of Greek dishes, bust many people are afraid of it because they think it's difficult to cook. The technique in this recipe solves that problem- it comes out beautifully tender. Once you have this technique down, you can add diced octopus to a cold seafood salad, or a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce, or risotto.
1 (4-6 pound) octopus, cleaned, whole legs only
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Blended oil (50 percent canola, 50 percent extra-virgin olive) as needed
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 fresh bay leaves or 4 dried leaves
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
1 ¾ cups Chickpea Confit (recipe follows)
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
½ small red onion, roughly chopped
8 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
10 large, plump sun-dried tomatoes cut into strips
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Ladolemono (recipe follows)
Small handful torn fresh herbs, such as dill, mint, and/or parsley
1. Sear the legs in batches of two, to avoid overcrowding the pan. Season the legs liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over the highest heat and let it get smoking hot. Film the pan with a little blended oil and add two of the legs, tentacle side down. Sear, turning, to a reddish brown, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a Dutch oven or roasting pan and sear the remaining legs, returning the pan to super hot each time.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add the garlic, bay leaves, and chile flakes and cover with the lid or aluminum foil. Braise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, depending on the size of the octopus, until fork-tender.( Do this the night before if you like)
3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill, or ridged cast-iron grill pan, until hot. In a large boil, combine the Chickpea Confit, black-eyed peas, red onion, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and dill. Season with kosher salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon and olive oil. Toss the salad mixture thoroughly and transfer to a large platter.
4. Grill or pan-grill the octopus legs briefly to char and warm. Transfer legs onto the salad. Drizzle the legs generously Ladolemono scatter with fresh herbs.
Makes 3 cups
Cloves from 1 head of garlic, separated and peeled
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (such as Goya) well rinsed and well drained
Kosher salt and whole black peppercorns
Blended oil (50 percent canola and 50 percent extra-virgin olive oil)
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, combine the garlic, cumin, mustard seeds, and chickpeas. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper, and barely cover with blended oil. Cover the pot and cook at 325°F until aromatic but not browned, about 45 minutes.
When the mixture is cool, transfer it, with all the oil, to a sterilized glass container and use as you like. If the chickpeas are covered with oil, the confit could last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Always save the oil for another use, for example, in a cumin vinaigrette for sautéing.
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dry Greek oregano
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, oregano, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Whisk to blend the mixture completely and, whisking all the time, drizzle the olive oil. This sauce will separate, whisk or shake in a jar before using.