Saturday, February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Team Inspiration

My brother calls it devouring the enemy when he and friends plan tailgates around signature dishes of the visiting teams.

If you're in Denver like my brother, your menu choice is clear: Devour some Seattle classics like smoked or fresh salmon, Pacific oysters, Dungeness crabs, Washington State artisan cheeses and cured meats or Seattle's signature beef franks served with cream cheese and grilled onions.

Seattle has a great spice rub for fresh salmon.  There are many variations but the base is brown sugar, freshly cracked black pepper and a bit of salt.  Add spices you like including crushed, whole coriander, fennel or cumin, even star anise and orange peel.  Lightly coat a salmon fillet with the rub and let it sit about 15 minutes.  Roast the fish at 425˚F for 15-25 minutes (up to 30 minutes for a 3 pound fillet). Serve hot or make this ahead to serve at room temperature.

Cap it off with a cherry dessert- cherry hand pies or dried cherries mixed into your favorite chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie recipe perhaps. Include apples too- as a dessert or served with cheese.  Half of the U.S. supply of apples is grown in the state.

Washington state makes terrific wines. I especially like the whites.  The highest amount of acreage has been devoted to the Chardonnay varietal.  Lightly oaked (or unoaked) Washington Chardonnays really let the northwestern terroire shine through in a crisp and clear flavor profile that favors much if its seafood.  If you are serving oysters, be sure to sample some the state's other whites like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Gew├╝rztraminer.  After Chardonnay the state devotes the most space to Cabernet Suavignon.  That goes with beef franks, right?

For the other team, cook and then cut up a big Denver omelet (ham, green pepper, onion) to make Denver Sliders topped with ham and green chili sauce.  Sometimes its hard to find small rolls for sliders that do not overwhelm the other ingredients.  Try these easy Sweet Potato Rolls from my 8/31/2012 post which can be portioned into 16-20 mini-rolls.

My brother confirms that a green chili sauce can go over anything to make it local Denver fare and adds that beers from local breweries are a great match.  If you can get something from the state, enjoy.  Otherwise serve a beer local to you or the Colorado son, Coors.

Speaking of beer, try cooking in it for an easy Super Bowl buffet spread.  Tacos made with Chicken Cooked in Beer are easy to put together and can join a Denver/Southwest-inspired table with Chipotle Potato Salad and bison or buffalo meat burgers. Pass around Baked Jalepeno Poppers and Super Bowl Taquitoes.  Both of these can be made ahead and reheated before serving. 

Like Seattle, Denver knows its seafood too.  The state fish is Rainbow Trout.  And some say they have their own oysters as well. :)

If you have no affiliation to either team but need some menu inspiration, check these out these buffet friendly pure food blog posts:

Thanks brother Bill for being back up quarterback on this one!