Saturday, 26 April 2014

Episode 9 Suziikana

Gnashing teeth

Clashing knives

A mask for the child in the beast in the man.


Innocence or ignorance

Instinct or will

Pushing deeper, rising up.


Wild like the wind

Driven like the snow

Drowned like the sound of his sorrow.


Suziikana is the course in Kaiseki that is the main event. A substantial hot pot of rarest and finest ingredients. This episode is named for a meaty pot-boiler.

The pling of an incoming text wakes me.

     It’s from Stephen, the prop master. He says: New pages. Dining room scene shooting Monday.

     MONDAY? This has really caught me napping. I had been checking constantly and the last script I saw didn’t have any food in it at all so I was kind of relaxing and lazing about. I leap up and immediately email the script supervisor who is the person who circulates the script revisions. She says there are no new pages. OK. Fine. I’ll go back to sleep. But I know there must be new pages so I start emailing everyone til finally I get a new script.

     I have only two working days to prep so I scan the rewrites worriedly. If I have to order anything special there is very little time (kill days at the abattoir are Tuesdays and Thursdays and it takes a week to pre-order odd cuts of beef pork or lamb – it can take many more to purvey stranger beasties)

This is my sketch for this episode's meal that Hannibal serves to Jack

It seems we are working with leftovers.

     Hannibal making dinner with leftovers you whisper disbelievingly? Yes, Virginia. Leftovers. A quick review and a chat with the prop master confirms it: 

     Let me explain: You know how sometimes you find yourself staring in the fridge at assorted tupperware-encased remains wondering how you can combine them into a stunning dinner for two? What fabulous meal can I make from a half an onion, six chocolate macarons and a turkey leg? Or salmon eggs, liverwurst and wilted green beans.

     Episodic tv can be like that. We had shot cooking scenes for episode 6 that got dropped in the final edit. Toss ‘em out? Never!! Can’t let fresh footage go to waste!!! There are film makers in other hemispheres who are starving!!  We have all this lovingly shot footage of sweetbreads being sautéed – liver being sliced with a blood-streaked knife – kidneys being chopped. Robyn Stern (Jose Andre’s researcher) had worked on how these organs could be shot and they were great. Definitely too good to waste. But what could Hannibal make out of them?
A slice of Sacromonte Omelet with a duck eggshell filled with salsa and a quail egg filled with sea salt. On the side, purple baby potatoes and grilled clementine

     Sweetbreads, liver and kidneys can go into Sancromonte Omelets declares Jose -- Hannibal can talk about his memorable days with the gypsies of Spain! So omelets it is. I make them as frittatas because 1) they’re Spanish and 2) wedges of egg-potato tortillas are much easier to reset than fluffy French omelettes which would have to be made on set, a la minute -- not my idea of a tranquil day at work. Plus we just had Hangtown Fry in Episode 5 and if I don’t watch Hannibal’s cholesterol levels, who will?.

    I sketch up a plan of how I think the meal should look and what I plan to have on the table as accompaniments. This gets emailed off to everyone and I even have time to put in a request for wine suggestions from Robyn.
Side platter of Spanish olives, sweet tiny red peppers, spiced almonds

    I don’t imagine that Mads and Lawrence want to eat lamb’s brains and testicles – which is what is called for in authentic Sacromonte Omelets – so  I make them instead with chicken, potato and red pepper - pans and pans of them and cart them off to set.
Side platter of anchovies crawling on tomatoes and fresh basil uprooted from black quinoa "dirt"

    Unloading the car into the studio is always a bit of a joyless task but I cease to feel sorry for myself when I run into Jaro Dick, the set decorator. Isn’t he supposed to be on location at the museum downtown? I’m pretty sure I saw that on the call sheet. No. The location didn’t work out. At the last minute they couldn’t swing it and had to build the museum set in the studio. WHAT??? I will never feel sorry for myself again. At least no one expects me to build a massive dinosaur room overnight. I get crabby because I'm expected to magically produce suckling pigs and leaping trout out at a moment's notice, but no one has ever asked me to erect 2 or 3 dinosaurs overnight. But Jaro was taking it in stride. Just another day in tv land.

Plates waiting to go to set
  The shoot goes smoothly ( the frittata is a breeze to plate - why can't all food come in wedges?) and I manage to get home before dawn. Another episode done. Only three more to go. I don't know whether to be happy or sad about that.

But never mind the joys and sorrows of tv-making. Let's eat! 

    It’s time to whip on those aprons and head to the kitchen to make some delicious frittata. You can make this simple but delicious treat with any leftovers and  turn them into a wonderful lunch dish. The main ingredients are eggs and potatoes. The rest is up to you. And you need a non-stick slope-sided pan. I use a well-seasoned cast iron omelette pan.

Chick n Cheese Frittata

6 eggs
¼ cup cream
¼ tsp salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp butter
1 large cooked potato, in 1/8-inch slices
½  medium onion, in ¼-inch slices, pan-fried until translucent
½ cup cooked chicken in ½-inch dice
½ cup peas
½ cup diced bell peppers
2 oz cheese thinly sliced

1.  In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs with cream, salt and pepper.
2.  Over medium heat, melt butter in omelette pan. When butter is bubbling and beginning to brown, pour in a third of the beaten egg to cover bottom of pan. In a single layer, add a third of the potato slices and sprinkle in a third of the chicken, a third of  onions and a third of the cheese. Repeat twice.
3.  Continue cooking over medium heat until egg has mostly set then place under broiler to finish cooking egg and melting cheese. Brown the top.
4.  Cut into wedges and serve with a salad. If you have any left over, this is also great eaten right out of the fridge.

Next week: This dish could sure use some ginger... 

And for those of you munching along at home: 

    I am delighted with the way you are diving into the recipes and thrilled with what great cooks you are and how artfully you are presenting your dishes! Here are more Hannibal cook-alongs that you have sent to me for sharing:

Brian S created this elegant dish of lamb kidney garnished with prosciutto rose on apple.
Brian's absolutely gorgeous Lamb kidney and mushroom 

CFO Winkle made osso buco and the spinach stuffed loin from season 1
CFO's Osso Buco beginnings
CFO's Osso Buco simmering in the pot
CFO's wonderful looking stuffed loin
CFO's stuffed loin sliced
Rachel F made the chocolate macarons – vegan ganache made with non-dairy chocolate and coconut milk.
Rachel garnished her yummy looking macarons with kumquats and strawberries

Brian’s breakfast Huevos - brilliantly garnished with avocado, tomato and black beans almost to lovely to eat!
A beautiful way to start the day cooked by Brian S

Stefano W from Italy made a roast in clay served with apple and roast potatoes – not surprisingly, none of his friends wanted to sacrifice a leg for dinner so he used pork tenderloin...
Tenderloin wrapped in clay and artistically decorated by Stefano
Just out of the oven - Wow!
Looking delish with caramelized apples and roasted potatoes

Thank you for sharing!!!!!!!!!

All content unless otherwise attributed copyright of Janice Poon 2014


  1. Thank you, Janice! I love your blog as much as I love the show, and look forward to checking it the minute the show's over. You are so inspiring, not just as a cook (that goes without saying) but also as an artist and writer! Can't wait to see what's serving next on Hannibal's table!!

    1. You will be SHOCKED when you see what Will has brought for Hannibal to cook thi week. I had to read the script twice just to make sure!
      Thanks for you sweet words!

  2. Mrs.Poon, you are amazing. Now on to the next one. can't wait for next Friday.

    Ps. It's Episode 9, not 8. #AnnoyingFannibal ; )

    1. Got it. Thanks. I am happy to get the correction - it's like if no one told me I would feel like I had spinach in my teeth all evening and no one said a word.

    2. Shiizakana

  3. They say there are no stupid questions, yet somehow I always feel like a dolt whenever I open my mouth, and end my piece with a question mark. Nonetheless here I go. First off, I'm from Argentina- you have fans, even this far south on the globe- and absolutly adore your blog. It is not only the perfect companion for the series, but a remarkable culinary jewel unto itself.
    That being said, I'll steamroll ahead with my question. What partcular brand of clay, or for that matter type, is edible? I ask because I'm dying to have a Hannibal inspired dinner party, and would positively enjoy cooking something as iconic as Gideon's clay wrapped tenderloin... minus the human leg, mind you. The last thing, I truly want, is to accidently poison my guests.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated... And, just as an addative, you should seriously consider publishing a cookbook. I'd ceratinly buy it.
    L.J. Gomez

    1. I was in wonderful Argentina inSeptember and I loved it! I just did an interview with Dia a Dia in Cordoba so I was so happy to hear about all the Fannibals there.

      I used potter's clay - the kind that you get from the art store. It is safe to use for food but if you are worried, just contact the clay supplier and ask for their opinion. They have material safety data sheets that they can supply that has the information. Also, I noticed that Williams Sonoma was selling a kit for Clay Baking Chicken on line.

      Good luck with your clay-baking. I hope to post a recipe soon.

  4. L.J., you are not supposed to eat the clay. Use any kind of clay and just eat the meat inside.

    Great post as always, Ms. Poon. José Andrés managed to slip one more Spanish dish into the show (this one'd be the 3rd one I think, 4th if had had his way with the gallinejas!).

    I'm sure Mads would have been up for some lamb brains and testicles. They're delicious. The texture is a bit icky, yes, but within the tactile camouflage of a good thick omelette they're perfect.

    Oh, and I'm splitting hairs here but your dish looks more like a Spanish omelette than a frittata (which is actually Italian) to me. The frittata is sort of half way between an omelette and a quiche, you don't turn it around so the top is a bit runnier than the sides and bottom. Yours was perfectly cooked on all sides, with a juicy inside, just like Spanish omelette is supposed to be.

    1. Yes, I guess in Spanish it's called a tortilla but I didn't want to confuse it with French style omelettes or Mexican tortillas so I went with the Italian "frittata" which appears on restaurant menus here all the time to describe this style of egg dish. Jose has been slipping Peruvian dishes in lately - he's opening a new Peruvian restaurant very soon that I'm looking forward to hearing about!

  5. Hello, Janice! Thanks for insipiring recipes. Made a pork in clay, and it was delicious.
    I have a question: should omelette be covered with lid or not? And the potato: should it be boiled or cooked the other way?

  6. Hi- If you are baking the frittatta, don't cover it. This way, the top will turn a nice golden-brown. I use boiled potatoes but any left-over cooked potato will work...even french fries! Potato salad should work too - I would to try it but I never have any left-over...

    I'm so glad you tried the clay-baking. You can do it with a whole chicken as well.

    1. Thank you. I've tried it even twice, and the idea about chicken is great, I'm going to try it also.

    2. I've been testing times and temperatures of clay-roasting chicken for the Hannibal Cookbook and I've found that if you start with a low temperature (about 325F) for about an hour then crank it up (about 400F) and roast for another 30 min to brown the skin a bit. If you do it the other way around, the clay will crack wide open and defeat the purpose of clay-baking which is to kind of steam/slow roast. Also, before I wrap the chicken, I rub it with a paprika/salt/garlic mix and cover it with bacon strips for flavor and colour.

    3. Thank you, I'll try this recipe as soon as possible.
      About clay. Both times I was cooking meat in clay it cracked a bit, even though I didn't heat it too fast. But meat was still delicious as I wrapped it in two layers of foil. Also I experienced a problem that clay didn't dry out at the bottom though I put it on small supports.
      I think I'll wrap clay with a fabric to reinforce it and prevent cracking and make higher supports.