I was recently invited to cook with celebrity chef Sunny Anderson. I know. Shut up. Of course I was going to attend!
FYI: The SPAM Brand invited me to the event and provided me with a gift bag like the one I'm giving away. All the opinions and text are my own.
Do you remember the ubiquitous blue and yellow can that was in everyone's mother's pantry? Go right now and read about the 6 simple ingredients that go into each can of SPAM®. It's okay. I'll wait.
Wasn't that interesting?
I know a lot of us Cubans from my generation remember it fondly. In fact, my mom used to make a wonderful Arroz con SPAM®. I am not kidding. In fact, I'd forgotten all about it until I attended the event and my memory was jogged. It was like Arroz con Salchichas, but with SPAM® instead. And it was indescribably delicious.
Full disclosure: I just haven't eaten SPAM® in a lot of years.
That all changed at this event.
A group of us bloggers jumped right in with Sunny as she extolled the wonders of SPAM®.
"For many years now, I have been a fan of the SPAM® brand; its flavor and versatility lends itself to so many different cooking styles and recipes. The SPAMERICAN!TM Tour brings together such a unique curation of SPAM® dishes and is a celebration of the iconic taste that Americans and chefs, like myself, have grown to love."
I guess I shouldn't have been, but I was mildly surprised that some of the younger people present had never even tasted it in their lives. And I loved seeing their faces when they tried it for the first time. It was a where-have-you-been-all-my-life look of surprise.
The entire place was decked out in all kinds of SPAM-aliciousness.
The SPAMERICAN!TM TOUR kicked off at our event in LA with Chef Sunny Anderson unveiling a special menu. The truck will be traveling to popular events across the country, it will feature partnerships with local chefs.
At each of the 12 stops, fans will enjoy a signature recipe, alongside some SPAMTASTICTM creations from local chefs, all while experiencing a taste of the brand's fun-loving personality.
Sunny made Coconut SPAM® Spears with Spicy Pineapple Chutney. (recipe follows) While the cooking was happening, the SPAM® Tour Truck kept sending out the tastiest creations. Imagine a cocktail party with all the hors d'oeuvres made with a little bit of SPAM®.
Guys, it was so deliciously genius.
The sweet and sour fragrance of Sunny's chutney was to die for. The SPAM® was sliced into spears, rolled in beer batter and deep fried to golden perfection.
Here me now and believe me later...they were crazy-delicious.
Coconut SPAM® Spears with Spicy Pineapple Chutney
- For the Chutney
- 1 cup crushed pineapple
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoons mild yellow curry powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts (plus more for garnish)
- For the spears
- 1 12-ounce can of any SPAM® variety
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup soda water, ice cold
- A pinch of salt
- Canola oil, for frying
Make the chutney. In a small sauce pan on medium heat add the pineapple, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar, curry powder, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook while stirring until the pot begins to bubble a bit, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of warm water. Stir until smooth. Pour this mixture into the chutney. Stir to incorporate. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Once cool, stir in the scallions (remember to leave some for garnish!).
- Prepare the spears. Fill a large pot or deep fryer with canola oil, leaving a few inches at the top. Bring the temperature to 375° F. Cut the SPAM® in half lengthwise and then cut each half into five long spears. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, coconut, cornstarch and lemon zest. Add in the soda water and egg. Dip the spears into the tempura batter and slowly lower the battered SPAM® into the fryer. Let fry for 5 minutes or until brown and crispy. Remove to a sheet tray lined with a wire rack. Serve the SPAM® spears with a side of Pineapple Chutney.
One of the funnest parts of this event, besides cooking with Sunny, was all of the supremely clever SPAM® merchandise from the SPAM® Tour. In fact, I confess I'm kind of becoming a SPAM® Snob. (Don't judge me.)
And because I love you (and the SPAM® peeps are supremely generous) I'm doing a giveaway for a great big bag of all that is good and holy about the SPAM® brand. Believe it.
Also, you know what's really fun to say? SPAM®. But that's not important right now.
The SPAM BAG Giveaway is for the following:
- 1 SPAM Tote Bag
- Sunglasses (these are Eric's favorite because they're super polarized)
- Cutting Sheet
- Can Holder
- SPAM Can Bank
- SPAM Temporary Tattoo
- SPAM Spatula (say that 3 times, really fast)
- SPAM Slicer
- Wine Glass
- SPAM Cook Book
- SPAM Apron
- SPAM Mug
- SPAM Pennant
- SPAM Pot Holder
- And a variety of SPAM product
1) To enter this drawing for the SPAM® Bag of Fun (That's not really what it's called, I just named it that.)
Please leave a comment on this post and answer one or both of the following questions:
- Tell me what your remember about SPAM®.
- Go to this link: SPAM® Recipes and tell me what sounds good to you!
Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose one winner on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 at 11am PST.
Also, as I was writing this post I keep thinking of this Monty Python skit. But that's not important right now either. I just cracked myself up.