Saturday, July 12, 2008

Best of the Best from Alaska: Mayonnaise Fish & Frosting Cake

Last night's Best of the Best from Alaska menu:

Halibut Olympia
Company Rice
Green Beans and Pine nuts
Frosting Cake

And a fine dinner it was.

The recipe for Halibut Olympia originally comes from a cookbook called Just for the Halibut, and invokes an only-in-America flavor combination: Jarred mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. You've almost certainly tasted this before, probably in a warm artichoke dip at a cocktail party 20 years ago. Yum. No, seriously! Yum. It's wickedly delicious stuff and takes a nice brown crust, sort of like a toasted marshmallow. Only in the name of Tipsy Baker cookbook research am I allowed to blanket halibut in mayonnaise, Parmesan, and sour cream.

And I mean BLANKET. That is my one complaint. Too much of a decadent thing. But then isn't that sort of the quintessential American problem?

Ran into the same issue with both the green beans (too many pine nuts) and the Company Rice. Company Rice is an almost perfect dish that involves doctoring Uncle Ben's wild rice mix with butter, onions, orange peel, and a cup of dried cranberries. Cut the quantity of cranberries in half and you have a handsome starch that Samantha might have proudly served at one of Darren's client dinners on Bewitched

Finally: Frosting Cake.

Isabel fixated on the idea immediately, and proceeded to make the cake herself. I, too, was fascinated. You take yellow cake mix and add eggs, oil, water, pecans -- and a can of coconut pecan frosting. Pour in a Bundt pan and bake. An hour later you are slicing an extraordinarily moist, nutty brown cake with the distinct perfume of canned frosting. 

Credit for this insane, not-great novelty recipe goes to the Nome Centennial Cookbook. Find Nome on a globe. It explains a lot. 


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