LA Mag’s Island-Style Cookoff: Eric Greenspan

The third entry in Los Angeles Magazine’s Island-Style Cookoff comes from Eric Greenspan of the Foundry on Melrose. You still have time to try the dish out or prepare it yourself before voting! And of course I see this right after I was slamming the spam!

Chili Glazed Spam with Saffron Pineapple Risotto and Coconut Crusted Shrimp
Serves 4


•2 tins of Spam, cut ½
•1 onion, peeled, rough cut
•1 carrot, peeled, rough cut
•1 celery stalk, rough cut
•1 knob of ginger, peeled, sliced thin
•1 red pepper, seeded and rough cut
•2 tbls chili powder
•1 tbls black peppercorns
•3 bay leaves, fresh
•1 ½ cups dry sake
•3 cups pineapple juice
•3 tbls honey
•¼ cup pineapple dice
•¼ cup red onion dice
•¼ cup red pepper dice
•large pinch saffron threads
•1 cup risotto rice
•1 cup coconut milk
•1/8 pound unsalted butter, cubed
•2 leaves chiffonade shiso
•2 whole shrimp, peeled and deveined
•1 egg yolk, beaten
•2 cups shredded coconut
•2 leaves green shiso, torn

In a large saucepot, sweat onions, carrots, ginger, celery, red peppers and chili powder until translucent. Deglaze with 1 cup sake, reduce by 2/3, then add pineapple juice, black peppercorns, and bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes. Add Spam, and continue to simmer for one hour. Remove spam from liquid, strain, add honey and reduce until syrup consistency. Fry the spam in a 375 degree deep fryer until crispy all around, and brush with the reduction.


Sweat pineapple dice, red onion dice and red pepper dice in a medium saucepan with saffron. Add risotto rice and sweat until slightly toasted. Add sake and reduce til dry. Add coconut milk and cook while continually stirring until rice is cooked throughout (add water if necessary). Stir in butter and, when melted, add chiffonade shiso.


Dip the shrimp in egg yolk, roll in shredded coconut, then deep fry at 375 degrees until golden brown. Cut each shrimp into 3 equal size pieces.

 To Finish

In a small bowl, place a large spoonful of the rice mixture. Tear the remaining shrimp by hand and mix with the shrimp cubes, placing this salad on top of the risotto. Top with Spam brushed with the chili reduction.

Photo by James and James

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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