LA Mag’s Island-Style Cookoff: Brendan Collins

Homemade Spam! The fourth and final entry in Los Angeles Magazine’s Island-Style Cookoff is presented by Brendan Collins of Waterloo and City. The recipe is intense, but at the very least I am making that Five Spice Brioche!

Seared Foie Gras, Char Siu Tete de Spam, Caramelized Pineapple Sherbet, and 5 Spice Brioche

Seared Foie Gras

  • (6) 2.5 oz potions best quality foie gras
  • (6) 1″ x 3″ rectangles slices of tete de spam
  • (6) 2″ squares of pineapple
  • 6 slices of spiced brioche
  • 6 small quinelle’s or balls of pineapple sherbet
  • 6 tsp char siu flavoring for decorating the plate
  • 6 ea pinches of finely sliced pineapple mint
  • 2 tbsp grape seed or high heat cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp fine ground raw sugar

This recipe is somewhat complicated but well worth the effort. First make the tete de spam, then the sorbet and brioche (recipes and directions below). Once all your recipes are completed you can finish the dish.

  1. Slice brioche and pineapple and sprinkle with the granulated raw sugar ready to pan fry in foie gras drippings
  2. Let tete de spam warm to room temperature 
  3. Season the foie gras slices with salt and pepper
  4. Put a frying pan large enough to fit foie gras slices an to your stove top and allow to get hot
  5. Place the foie gras in the pan sauté each side until golden brown about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a warm plate (should now have a good amount of oil remaining in the pan)
  6. Pan fry the brioche in the foie gras oil until golden (about 30 second per side). Remove to another warm plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper
  7. Fry pineapple in the same pan
  8. Ball or quenelle 6 scoops of pineapple sherbet
  9. Lay out plates and plate up as shown in the picture, or however you choose

Tete de Spam

  • Hog head with the ears, 2 each Pig’s feet
  • Enough water to cover head
  • 1 pint Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 chopped onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 20 black pepper corns
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ bunch sage

 Char Siu Flavoring

  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 2 tbs shaoxing cooking wine (or sherry)
  • 2 tbs maltose (or honey)
  • 1 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbs thai chili sauce
  • 1 tbs Chinese dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed

Boil meat with onions, garlic, salt, black pepper, water and vinegar till falling off the bones. Allow to cool until able to handle with bare hands. Pick meat off the bones, discard bones. chop meat and cooked onions to the consistency of spam. Add char sui flavorings, salt and sage to taste. Pour into a large pan and allow to cool in refrigerator overnight. Cut in squares.

 Pineapple Sherbet

  • 1 small pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 2 tbls fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbls maltose or raw sugar

To prepare sorbet cut pineapple into 2-inch pieces. Place pineapple and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.

Pour mixture into an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions, Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.

5 Spice Brioche

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
  • 1 package dried yeast
  • 3 tbls sugar
  • 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 tbls (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tbls milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast, five spice and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it’s at least 110 degrees when you add the yeast. Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 1/4 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, greased a  loaf tin. Set aside.

Place the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the softened butter in chunks, and mix for 2 minutes, adding additional flour as needed to make a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough into 5(4-ounce) balls and place them in the tins. Cover the tins with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the loaves have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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