Bob will be so pleased!
This morning I received a cookbook by Guy Fieri, Bob’s favorite Food Network star. He’s-host of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. Even after a few bad calls, Bob still watches Guy.
Occasionally on the show, when Guy is looking at a big tub of marinara or something simmering away, you’ll hear him say: “That looks like a hot tub in Flavortown.”
“It’s nothing more than entertaining me or my crew, but it makes it into the show every so often, and people come up to me sometimes and say, ‘So where is Flavortown?’ If there were a whole town made of flavors, a big hamburger might be the steering wheel on the bus that’s going to Flavortown – and that’s happened, at a place called Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, W.Va. I was the grand marshal of a NASCAR race one day and a dude walked up to me and said, ‘I want to be the mayor of Flavortown.’ I just about wet myself it was so funny. We may not have a mayor yet, but we’ve got a conductor on the train going to Flavortown at Tom’s Bar-B-Q in Memphis, and Uncle Gus of the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia, asked to be the driver of the bus going to Flavortown,” Guy writes in the introduction.
Guy has eaten some great food along the backroads of America, but he’s also eaten stuff he wasn’t too excited about. “But if you go somewhere and gizzards are their thing, you gotta eat it,” he said.
“When I roll into an area that I am not really familiar with, I love to check out the places and the food that only the locals know about,” he said.
He went to Benny’s Seafood in South Miami, Fla. to eat mofongo. It’s plantains mashed up with garlic, seasonings and fried pork rinds. Here’s the recipe from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: An American Road Trip … with Recipes (William Morrow Cookbooks, $19.95. The book will be released Nov. 1.
6 large plantains
6 small garlic cloves
3/4 cup pork rinds
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 cup pure olive oil, plus more for frying
Peel the plantains and cut into 1-inch slices. Put the plantains in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt to keep them moist until ready to cook.
Mash the garlic, pork rinds, 1/4 tablespoon of the salt, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a mortar with a pestle. Transfer the garlic mixture to a bowl.
Heat about 5 inches of oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot (or in a deep-fryer) until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 300 degrees. Line a plate with paper towels.
Drain and pat dry the plantains. Fry without crowding, in batches, if necessary, until the plantains are cooked, but not hard, 15 to 20 minutes. It’s best to check the plantains after about 15 minutes; to do so, remove a slice from the oil and cut into it – if the center is still pink, keep cooking; if it’s yellow, the plantains are ready. Transfer the plantains from the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain briefly on the paper towels.
Mash the fried plantains with the remaining 1/4 tablespoon salt and 1/4 cup olive oil until just soft. Add the garlic mixture and continue mashing until the mofongo is completely blended. Serve hot. Makes 6 to 8 servings.