Talk about a labor of love. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Strang Chef Collective is putting on a screen-lover’s ultimate double feature.
This romantic five-course, cinematic, couples-themed dinner will be the first event for Chef Dai’Quon Watts. The meal will be served at Strang Reserve — a stunning 7,800-sqft luxury event space that recently opened in downtown Overland Park, KS. Tickets to the V-Day dining experience on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. can be found here.
The third course we are serving up today is a nod to “The Addams Family” characters Morticia and Gomez. The recipe includes Latin-inspired ingredients like purple potatoes and mole (a sauce with many layers of flavor).
They are not necessarily the “social norm of families, but they are elegant in their own way,” Watts says of the spooky couple’s love story. The same motif carries through to this decadent but different dish.
Ingredients: makes about ½ gallon
- ½ pound butter
- 2 dried ancho chile
- 2 dried pasilla negro chile
- 2 dried mulato chile
- 2 dried guajillo chile
- 2 dried chipotle meco chile
- 2 dried chipotle chile
- 2 2/3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
- 2 ¼ teaspoons fresh chopped oregano
- 1 teaspoon whole mace
- ¼ teaspoon whole cloves
- 9 whole cinnamon sticks
- ½ tablespoon pink peppercorns
- 4 1/4 cups water
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped black garlic
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 ½ cups shelled peanuts
- ½ cup torn bread
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon MSG
- ¼ cup chopped 70% dark chocolate
- In a sauté pan, melt butter. Add chiles, pumpkin seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, black sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, mace, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and pink peppercorns. Toast all in the pan, browning the spices evenly until darkened and fragrant, making sure not to burn the butter.
- Turn off heat and remove chilies. Allow chilies to cool, and wearing gloves, de-stem and de-seed them.
- In a large stockpot, add water, onion, garlic, tomato paste, walnuts, peanuts, bread, cherries, salt, and MSG. Bring mole to a simmer and let it rock out at a simmer for 2-3 hours, adding water back as needed and stirring as to not scorch the bottom.
- Remove cinnamon sticks and remove stockpot from the stove to cool slightly.
- After 30 minutes, add chocolate. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the chocolate into the mole. Using a standard or immersion blender, blend batches of mole, leaving some texture.
Pro tip: Taste mole and adjust seasonings as needed. The flavor should be smoky, spicy, sweet, and savory with a subtle umami finish. Salt, lemon and or lime, juice, sugar, and additional chocolate can be used to adjust flavor. Butter can be added to soften the heat as well.
Purple Potato-Crusted Cod
Ingredients: makes 2 servings
- 1 small purple potato
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 (6-ounce) cod filets
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Slice potato on a mandolin to the thinness of a dime and place slices to soak in a bowl of water to remove excess starch.
- In a shallow plate, whisk together cornstarch, salt, thyme, and smoked paprika until seasonings are well combined.
- Pour buttermilk into another shallow pan.
- Season cod filets with salt and pepper. Dredge one side of cod in cornstarch mixture, then dip each filet into buttermilk, set aside.
- Drain off water from potatoes and shingle on top of cod like fish scales. Place fish in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
- In an oven-safe pan, heat oil. Once hot, carefully lay cod away from you into the pan. Fry on the outside for 3-4 minutes, flip and continue cooking for another minute. Place pan in the oven for 3 minutes to finish cooking.
- Remove pan from oven and remove filets from pan to drain on paper towels.
Curly Onion Salad
Ingredients: makes 2 servings
- 4 green onions
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Trim off bottom ¼-inch of green onions. Lay onion flat side down on a cutting board and run the knife through them lengthwise.
Pro tip: Be sure to curl your finger (claw technique) to prevent cutting fingers. Place onion in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes to help them curl. Discard ice and water from the bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk honey, sesame oil, and salt. Toss green onions into a bowl, tossing thoroughly with the dressing.
To serve: In a pasta bowl, ladle about ¾ cup of mole. Plate fish with potato-crusted side up. Garnish with green onion salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds.