Super Bowl Sunday has come to mean many things to many people.
For most, it is the final contest to crown a champion after a long grueling season of football. For others, it is the preeminent television and social media event on the calendar; a contest of commercials, if you will.
The one thing that absolutely everyone can agree upon is that Super Bowl Sunday is a day of snacks, a holiday of feasting filled with treats from wings to dips, cocktails to beer and beyond.
Whether you have a tried and true nacho recipe or are planning Peyton Manning endorsed Papa Johns mediocrity, getting the menu right is the first step to Super Bowl success.
Everybody has their own idea of what a great Super Bowl meal consists of, but over the years there seems to be a common theme for many menus.
Chicken wings, chili, chips and dip, ribs and the like are all annual game day classics, so much so that demand can outpace supply this time of year. All anyone could talk about leading up to the game last year was a possible chicken wing shortage wreaking havoc on countless Super Bowl party tables.
This year, Velveeta — that venerable plastic-like cheese product that stars in a multitude of dips — has been said to be in shorter supply,but fear not
The party classics are all well and good, but I say a global event the stature of the Super Bowl deserves a more adventurous menu, one with an eye on the past but incorporating flavors and ideas from around the world.
With that in mind, I looked at another winter holiday for a dose of inspiration, Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is also celebrated with traditions and communal feasting with inspired dishes to bring good fortune, from longevity noodles to a variety of dumplings, cakes, fish and more.
Finding common themes and ingredients that run through the traditions of each festivity, plus the contesting cities of Denver and Seattle, is a playful way to plan an adventurous menu to satisfy the hungry crowds on Sunday.
A football is made out of pig skin, so why not serve chicharrones or fried pig ears. Seattle and Denver are two cities with plenty of culinary inspiration to draw from as well, be it salmon and shell fish or Colorado lamb.
With Chinese New Year in mind, dim sum carts are filled with ideas you can play off of, like braised chicken feet or pan fried dumplings.
Everyone loves chicken wings, with their mix of crispy skin, juicy meat and that right mix of fat that makes the flavors all come together.
Not as many people in this country know the joys of chicken feet, a classic course served in Chinese dim sum. Their appearance can be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated as they are puffy little tendon-laden claws, but those with a taste for adventure will be rewarded with a truly unique textural flavor experience.
Chicken feet are mostly skin, small bones and tendons with loads of collagen and gelatin. This generally means a slow braise in a flavor and spice packed liquid for hours to render them tender and succulent.
Eating chicken feet can be a bit tricky, but is actually not that dissimilar from eating chicken wings in that you work your way around the bones, gnawing and savoring the little bits of tissue.
Traditionally, they are flavored in a mix of wine, soy and spices like fermented black beans and garlic, but I like to infuse them with a more American spin for an event like Super Bowl Sunday. Trust me, the results are pure cross-cultural deliciousness.
Here are a few other ideas for adding a sense of adventure to your Super Bowl spread:
Denver fans dishes:
• Colorado lamb and leek Jiaozi dumplings with soy and chili oil dipping sauce.
• Fried Rocky Mountain Oysters with BBQ Sauce.
Seattle fans dishes:
• Butter poached trout rillettes with won ton chips.
• Smoked salmon crostini with crème fraiche, dill and salmon roe.
Super Bowl dishes:
•Crispy BBQ spiced Pig Ears with saffron aioli
• Buffalo Chicken Feet with pickled celery and watercress.
• Smoked pork belly sliders with Brussels sprout slaw and BBQ sauce.“Buffalo” Braised Chicken Feet Makes 6 servings
This recipe takes the idea of classic Buffalo wings and re-imagines it with the feet of the chicken, making for a winning combination of classic Chinese dim sum and Super Bowl staple. Clip the toe nails from the ends of the feet before cooking, or before serving.
For Braising1 pound of chicken feet, cleaned and dried 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, or water 1/4 cup of Tamari Soy Sauce 1/2 cup of dry white wine 5 cloves of garlic, sliced 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced 4 green onions, chopped 1 bay leaf
In a medium sauce pot, combine chicken stock, soy sauce, wine, garlic, ginger and onion and bay leaf with chicken feet. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from braising liquid and dry thoroughly.
You can do this ahead and heat them up in the oven, or you can flash fry in oil, though if you are doing so make sure they are very dry as they will splatter. Combine with the sauce, tossing to coat. Serve on a platter with pickled celery and watercress.
For the sauce:1/4 cup Sriracha Hot Sauce or Sambal Oelek 1 tablespoon of Gochujang Korean Chile Paste 1 stick, or 8 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Tamari Soy Sauce
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add butter to mixing bowl with Sriracha, Gochujang, rice wine vinegar and soy, mixing thoroughly.
Tyler Fox, personal chef/event caterer who emphasizes ‘nose-to-tail’ cooking philosophy as well as vegan and local/farm to table foods.