Thursday, 2 July 2015

Episode 5 Contorno

Looping back.

Future’s face is traced
upon the past.

Looping back again, again

to find myself.

To find out who I was
when I lost all

trace of you.

As Chiyoh tells Will, some species of snails can survive being eaten by birds, pass through the birds’ digestive system and emerge from the feces unharmed to procreate in a new location. (sounds exactly like a flight on Air Canada to me) In dark times, we might feel lost in a gizzardy grind but hey – if we gird ourselves against the eroding acid of uncertainty, in time, we might discover we were actually soaring in the belly of an eagle and are about to get pooped out on an island paradise to live again! #SaveHannibal!

snail photo by Vyacheslov Mischenko

In the Writers' Room, a butterfly wing flutters: clever, funny Angelina Burnett discovers that firefly larvae are the main predator of land snails and from that detail spools out the gloriously gruesome scene that might send many of you into a vermiphobic (or trypophobic) flap.  Thank goodness the hideous larvae soon make their transformation into fireflies - beautiful dots of magic that illuminate the death tableau that Will has made from the Caged Man.

If this show teaches you nothing, it at least shows you how fascinating and cruel Mother Nature is.  She is a towering powerful Monster. Hannibal is a punk compared to her.

Hey - it's time for me to get back to work

Our Jack is having dinner with the ill-fated Inspector Pazzi and his lovely young wife. She has made Pappardelle alla Lepre: a Tuscan dish of hare, braised in red wine  with aromatics: carrot, onion, celery and herbed with parsley, bay and fennel. It is nice with Parmisano Reggiano - pounds of which she shaves - discreetly in the back larder - as Jack and Pazzi talk cop.
Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragout

I am thinking this will be easy-breezy. Usually every fine butcher has got one or two buck-toothed babies in their showcase.  But this happened to be The Week Without Rabbits. I called every butcher in town, cajoling them to look deep into their freezers for me. Finally, I rounded up enough bunnies to make what I needed for the scene. Traditionally, the rabbit is cut up into small pieces and tossed with the wide strips of cooked pasta, but I left the meat in joints and placed them on the side so you could see that it was rabbit. Not people. Mrs Pazzi is a nice lady and there won’t be any of that mystery meat on her table.
Salad of Trevise Fennel and Endive

That scene down, it was time to find a table’s worth of gourmet goodies for the scene where Alana to show Verger how she tracked Hannibal through his shopping habits. I got Alba truffles from my caviar supplier but when they came in they were too small! So I called the Truffle Lady. She had a couple big ones that had just come in. Her family’s property is next to Anthony Hopkins’ place in Croatia, that was pretty kismet-y I thought and  plunked down the $450. (wholesale) for two nuggets. 

Then the only remaining challenge for me in the script was the “single Anatolian fig wrapped in a package that springs open like a flower blooming”. Paper flower was no problem for me – by the time I was 17, I’d decorated enough school gymnasiums  to cover that off. It was getting the figs out of season. I don’t want you to think that I am a lying cheating conniver who will stop at nothing to get the job done – so I’m not going to tell you how I got lovely huge figs in the dead of winter. But I got 12 of them and we sent 8 to Florence along with the tissue flower wrapping so they could replicate the wrapped figs when they shot the scene in Vera Dal. Which we reshot here anyway.
Vera Dal - Ontario branch office

Yes, Virginia -- at the risk of shattering your romantic perceptions of the episode, I’m revealing here that the Vera Dal interior shots were shot in Toronto. Bryan hated the store they shot in Florence so, at the last minute, we threw together the version you see in this episode and the previous. I built the food displays in a store set that our production designer and our set decorator pulled together from other sets and everyone loved the results. Our little Vera Dal cobbled together in the Toronto sound stage was more authentic looking than the real thing.

Hannibal’s rich dish

Hannibal has a snack
As Mason and Alana plot his capture, Hannibal enjoys a little snack: Venison entrecote with seared foie gras (whose liver is it this time?) decorated with amaryllis petals speared on the horns of a red chili pepper. Decorated with a spider orchid – symbolic of the Spidey-like escape that Hannibal makes as the episode ends.

Here’s the place where I would normally give you a recipe but I am still hoarding them for the Hannibal Cookbook which I have decided to be optimistic about.

Also here is where I would normally post your Hannidinners. But you have been too busy on Twitter to cook. You darling Fannibals, going all out Saving Hannibal instead of enjoying yourselves at the dinner table! You are truly the best fandom ever.

Next week: Sauteed cerveaux
When you hear the sound of Hannibal chopping capers and frying them in butter, it’s time to hang onto your hat and RUN!

Photos by Victoria Walsh. all content copyright Janice Poon/Feeding Hannibal (except snail photo by V Mischenko)


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  2. My favorite line from this post, " Hannibal is a punk compared to her ( Mother Nature)." Well said! :) I wish we were seeing more of your work this season, but thank you for continuing the blog posts anyway!

    1. Hi Alex-
      It's a bit hard to continue the blogs - not because the show's been cancelled (that actually makes each passing episode more precious) but because I am limited in what I can tell because of my contract with the cookbook publisher. Anyway, it's not over til it's over...