Spam Jam inspires creative chef
YOU KNOW you've made it in life when they close off a major thoroughfare to celebrate your fabulousness. Such is the case with Spam and the annual Waikiki Spam Jam, which takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday on Kalakaua Avenue.
At this fine cultural event you can eat Spam food, stock up on Spam merchandise, donate Spam to the Hawaii Foodbank and listen to (hopefully) non-Spam-related music (Raiatea Helm, Go Jimmy Go, B.E.T. and Missing Dave).
It is my Spam Jam tradition to find a truly original recipe for using this fine substance. This year's comes from Chip Hawkins, executive chef at the Ilikai, who is one of the most enthusiastic participants in Waikiki street fests.
He'll be serving these Spam cakes -- imagine crabcakes without the crab, or risotto, fried -- at the festival, topped with Creole sauce. It's a bit involved, so I'll stop talking now and get on with it:
Spam JAMbalaya Cakes
4-1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
12-ounce can Spam, diced
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups uncooked arborio rice
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 drops liquid smoke
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chunky tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Vegetable oil for frying
Bring chicken stock to boil.
Meanwhile, sauté Spam with bell pepper, onion, celery and mushrooms until Spam is no longer pink. Add rice and sauté briefly. Add tomato, thyme, pepper, hot sauce, liquid smoke, white wine and tomato sauce. Add boiling stock in five batches, allowing each batch to almost fully absorb before adding the next.
Remove from heat; fold in cheese and green onion. When cool enough to handle, form into 17 patties and freeze.
Beat egg into milk. Coat frozen patties lightly in flour, then dip into eggwash, then panko. Pan-fry patties in hot oil until crisp. Makes 17 cakes.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 280 calories, 18 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 8 g protein.
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