Thursday, 27 June 2013

Hannibal Dinner, Popped

Terror paused, 

Blood staunched,

Hannibal's gone.

A hangover. 

The cure?

Hair of the Dog:

A Fannibal foodie feast!  

What shall we do with our Thursday habit for fear and feasting now that Hannibal's final episode has aired? Well of course, we do what we always do in a crisis -- go to the fridge for something to eat.
Bone-in Iberico Jamon in front of the vegetarian cookbook section
We did more than that last week at our Hannibal Pop-up Dinner. Hosted by Allison Fryer at The Cookbook Store, we wined and dined on Lector's delectables -- a dinner of small plates prepared by Chef Matt Kantor and inspired by my season of feeding Hannibal.
Gathered at The Cookbook Store in Toronto's Yorkville
Take an equal measure of Foodies and Fannibals, toss in a talented chef and Hannibal’s food stylist. Stir them together within the book-lined walls of a venerable old book store and what do you get?

An evening to dismember  remember.

I decorated the tables with runners of film strips,  feathers, roses and candlesticks made from marrow bones.
The meal was made up of Jamon Iberico followed by seven small plates: Blood Sausage with Saffron Butter Beans; Spleen with Bacon, Red Onions and Sage; Lung a la basquase; Brain Cannelloni with Chanterelle Mushrooms; Loin with Tuna Sauce, Tongue en Papillote; and Blood and Cocoa Pudding with Chantilly Cream.               (Event photos by Brilynn Fergusen.)
Blood sausage with saffron butter beans
Lamb's tongue en papillote with tomato and mushroom
Brain cannelloni with chanerelles

Chef Max Kantor thrilled us with a continuous stream of small plates that were designed with Hannibal’s offal habits in mind.
Chef Matt and his crew cookin' at The Cookbook Store kitchen
As we feasted on everything from spleen to lung and brain and blood, matching wines flowed: Spice Route Chakalaka 2009, South Africa; Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2010, California;
Hermanos de Domingo Molina tTorrontes 2011, Argentina; Studet-Prum Graacher Himmelreich Reisling Kabinett 2011, Germany
Veal Loin in Tuna sauce (Serf and Surf)
A veal dish, Loin with Tuna Sauce, was included to represent a young girl’s thigh. As William Seabrooke’s readers discovered from his 1931 book on cannibals, “Jungle Ways”, human flesh tastes most like veal. He learned this not by dining with his African tribe, but by spit-roasting a morsel of man when he got back to Paris. He obtained it from a friend who was studying medicine at the Sorbonne and was able to purloin a chunk from a recently deceased but otherwise healthy patient.

Hmmm. Pretty sure I wouldn’t go that far for truth in writing. I justify vast quantities of what I eat as research but usually it falls more in the killer dessert category rather than the dead patient group. 
Tweeting Blood Pudding

Stirred not shaken

Everyone at the Pop-up dinner had a great time. The thrilling food, the enthusiastic guests, the wonderful music. No one wanted to leave. It was a magical evening under the spell of Hannibal. Or maybe it was that cocktail.
Chesapeake Ripper
Inspired – or haunted- by the mushroom men from Episode 4, John Kruusi from the Cookbook Store designed a great cocktail he dubbed “The Chesapeake Ripper”.
Here’s John's recipe:

The Chesapeake Ripper

Scotch and lemon-thyme cherries:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
A few sprigs of lemon-thyme or regular thyme
1/2 cup scotch
1/2 cup good quality dried cherries (If you can, try to find ones without any additives or preservatives. If not, rinse the dried cherries under cold water in an attempt to remove any oils that may be clinging to them)

Combine the sugar, water and thyme in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the scotch and cherries. Cover cherries and leave to plump for approximately 30 minutes. Once plumped, pack the cherries into a resealable jar and refrigerate until ready to use. This also works well with other spirits such as bourbon or rye.

Shiitake infused scotch:
15g dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup blended scotch

In a clean jar add mushrooms and pour over scotch. Cover and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Strain mushrooms through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, to ensure all mushroom particles are removed. These proportions can be easily multiplied for larger batches. I used Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blend Scotch because of it’s reputation for working well in cocktails. It plays well with other ingredients and is less expensive than a single malt.

To make The Chesapeake Ripper:
2 ounces shiitake infused scotch
1/2 ounce Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez Dulce Sherry
3 dashes Fee Brother’s Black Walnut Bitters
2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6 
scotch infused cherries for garnish (skewered on a thyme sprig, if you like)

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add the scotch, sherry, and both bitters. Stir to mix and strain into a small tumbler over ice. Garnish with the cherries.

You'd better not drink that on an empty stomach...

Now that you have slaked your thirst with a smart cocktail, you can satisfy your summer-between-seasons hunger for Hannibal by watching all those missed episodes you PVRed. Or by reading along with the Red Dragon reading group which will start on Tumblr in July. In any case, you will definitely need nibbles.

Here is a recipe from our Hannibal Pop-up Dinner. And, yes -- it's spleen. You know you want to try it.
My favorite plate of the evening - Spleen.

Rolled Spleen

This recipe is based on Fergus Henderson’s famous dish that he served at his London restaurant St John. If you get your spleen from a natural butcher, you might have to remove the outer membrane which peels off easily.  Asian markets usually sell them with the outer membrane removed. The very thin skin of the spleen and the fat that runs its length do not have to be removed. The taste is like mild liver and the texture is like tender kidney. Really delish. I bought 4 spleens, rolled some and made the rest into a rough country terrine that was great spread on toast.

for two or appetizer for eight

2             pork spleens
4             slices of bacon
1             sprig sage
1 cup       broth (chicken or vegetable)

salt, pepper to taste

1.  Heat oven to 300°F.

                                                         ( JP working reference shot)
2.  On a cutting board, lay a spleen out flat, fat side up. Layer on half of the bacon and place sage leaves along the length. Roll up tightly, jelly-roll fashion and secure with toothpicks. Repeat with remaining spleen.

3. Fit spleen rolls closely together in a small baking casserole. Pour in stock to cover. Cover tightly with lid or foil. Roast for 2 hours. Cool in roasting liquid and drain when cool, remove toothpicks and slice each spleen in four. Serve as a main with boiled buttered baby potatoes and Parsley Salad (below) or as an appetizer with thinly sliced red onions, radishes and cornichons.

Parsley Salad

1 cup       chopped parsley leaves (flat)
1 Tbsp     capers
! Tbsp      chopped red onion
1 Tbsp      chopped cornichon pockles
juice         half lemon
1 tsp         olive oil
salt pepper to taste

Toss ingredients together. This salad is also great with roasted bone marrow.

Next week: At last, the full story on Huevos High Life and a few more recipes from our Pop-up Dinner.


  1. Hi, I'm hoping you'll notice this because you're the "food person" on Hannibal. I'm a beer enthusiast/hobbyist and I'm writing to ask that in the second season, if there's a scene that features Hannibal's beer, that the crew does as good research on the beer as on the food and wine in the show. The scene in 1.07 "Sorbet" where he serves Alana beer, he doesn't talk about the beer he brews the way he talks about the food he cooks, and then he serves it in the wrong glass. Beer hobbyists notice things like this! So please if you don't mind, ask them to change that in season 2.

    If you want a more in-depth discussion about Hannibal's beer, I wrote about it here:

    I know that pointing you to something I wrote reeks of self-promotion. The only reason I'm linking it is so I don't have to write it again here.

    Beer is just as important to beer people as wine is to wine people and food is to food people. Thank you for everything you've done to make Hannibal such a successful show. I just want to put in my two cents on something that might make it just that bit better.

    1. Thanks very much for pointing out where we can make improvements. Hannibal is justifiably proud of his special (people) beer and in Season 2, I will make sure we go deeper in our research on his dark, dark brew!

  2. Hi there - I should probably say first, that this blog is awesome. I love hearing about all the intricacies of the styling, and the recipes (without human) sound amazing. (Also, you write it up well. :) )

    I'm not much of a cook, but I figured a cocktail, that I could do! Unfortunately, I don't seem able to find that sherry anywhere, and I don't know enough about it to substitute anything. Do you know if there are others that would work?

    1. Hi - this is John - I actually used a cocktail made at the Experimental Cocktail Club in New York as a jumping off point for this cocktail and they use El Maestro Pedro Ximenez sherry. It wasn't available at the LCBO when I was experimenting so I went with the Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez Dulce. Any super sweet, raisiny sherry would work - they're usually more available around Christmas.

    2. Thank you! That's very helpful. I'll have to see what I can find around here. I can't wait to try it!

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