More on the Versatile US Frozen Potato
Marlinda Angbetic Tan (The Freeman) - December 9, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – This year, the participants - not just the local chefs - were given the challenge to show off their culinary capabilities in a final cook-off at the El Vento of Marco Polo Plaza with no less than USPB's Susan Weller and the US Potato Growers' Carl Hoverson as among the judges. The Freeman's Honey Loop was one of the contest participants.

Day 2 dinner was at Anzani's New Mediterranean Restaurant atop Nivel Hills. New York Times celebrated chef (for pioneering a new Mediterranean cuisine) Marco Anzani honed his skills under the tutelage of Michelin-rated chefs Alain Ducasse and Roger Verge. Chef Marco made an impressive menu in the First US Potato Safari Cebu, a feat he was able to duplicate this time around.

First Bite: Tomato Flat Bread Roulade filled with US Frozen Half Shell Fries, Fontina Cheese, Spicy Salami, Roasted Garlic and Figs. This appetizer looks like a colorful pinwheel sandwich that was made aromatic with the roasted garlic that accented the sweet-salty-spicy flavors of the stuffing.

Colorful Introduction:  Baked yellow and green capsicums, zuccini and carrots layered just so with melted mozarella, became a delightful multi-color dish with a US Hash Brown Crust.

Italia che Passione:  Chef Marco's fervor for his native Italy is shown here with colors reminiscent of the Italian flag - Homemade Tortelli, Fork-mashed US Battered Potato Wedges, Mashed Pumpkin on Truffle Cream.  This creation's secret is a dash of Amaretto.

Main Flavor: Seared US Hanging Beef Tender Cut Wrapped with US Frozen Shoe String Potato with sautéed Fresh Mushrooms and Haricot Vert in Reduced Balsamic Gravy.  The medium-done tenderloin just melted in your mouth, countered by the earthy mushrooms and crunchy French beans.

Dolce Finale: Chocolate Mousse with Brown Sugar accompanied by Honey-coated US Frozen Crinkle Cut Potato topped with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Chef Marco is generous enough to share his recipes. Here is one on the preparation of the main course:

110 gms very thinly sliced beef tender cut

50 gms US Frozen Potato

Fresh Tomato

Wild Mushroom Mix

(shiitake, oyster, chicken & pearl varieties)

Haricot Vert

Rosemary

Thyme

1)  Slice the hanging tender cut, then marinate with salt & pepper, sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, and extra virgin olive oil.

2)  Peel US Potato and pass through a stringer machine. Set aside.

3)  Roll beef with US Battered Potato (partially fried on the inside).

4)  Using the stringed potato, completely wrap beef then deep fry in very hot oil.

5)  Ragout: sauté the wild mushroom mix with onions and the haricot vert.  Add white wine then reduce, before adding heavy cream and butter.

6)  On a plate, place ragout at center, then the beef. Garnish with fresh thyme, topped with haricot and cherry tomato.

Culminating lunch was a fusion menu paired off with beer and port. Like last year, Marco Polo's Italian Executive Chef Stefano Verrillo played around with some interesting dishes to come up with the theme, Potato Bonanza.

For appetizers, we had Seared Tuna with McGold Straight-Cut Frozen Potato, Kani (lobster) Salad served in US Frozen Potato Half Shell, and Smoked Gourmet Salted Meat.  These went well with a mug of Ice Cold San Miguel Draft Beer.

Soup was Fish Chowder in Potato Skin, with Annato Royal and fragrant Garlic Chips.  Followed by a sorbet of Green Mango and Saffron to cleanse our palate for the main course.

The highlight was Beef Tenderloin on US Hash Brown flavored with Truffle Oil, with sidings of Honeyed Horseradish, Mint Jelly and red wine jus. This was paired with a stronger Heineken Lager for savory balance.

Dessert was Chef Stefano's "object d'resistance": US Frozen Potato Wedge Tarte Tartine (a French pie) and Potato Souffle Glace (ice cream), Raspberry Espuma and Rum Drunken Grapes (Chef told us to savor the spurt of alcohol in the mouth.)  The Tawny Port's tart-sweetish taste blended well with the sweet spread.

Bravo to the two established chefs and their delicious innovations!

The Special US Potato Menu will be available at Anzani New Mediterranean Restaurant and at the Cafe Marco, Marco Polo Plaza from January till March, 2015.

ALAIN DUCASSE AND ROGER VERGE ANNATO ROYAL ANZANI NEW MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT BATTERED POTATO BATTERED POTATO WEDGES BEEF TENDERLOIN CHEF MARCO MARCO POTATO
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