It is here. Even if your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July, odds are that you have a Super Bowl celebration in the works. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food-consumption day in the country, nibbled out only by Thanksgiving. Currently held on the first Sunday in February, die-hard fans usually dip and devour familiar party staples such as hot wings, nachos or queso while cheering or jeering the competitors, debating the million-dollar commercials and critiquing the multimillion-dollar halftime performances.
Some hosts and hostesses venture outside those traditional culinary confines and try something different. Both of the teams playing represent cities with robust dining histories. Besides coffee, Seattle is best known for its fresh seafood, especially salmon and Dungeness crab. Denver has a palate developed from its rich western history and its thriving cattle industry. Green chili, made with tomatillos, onions and an assortment of peppers, is served on everything from scrambled eggs to succulent steaks.
So if you weren’t able to get that $1,800 to Ticketmaster in time, or your menu falls victim to Kraft’s reputed Velveeta shortage, these recipes are representative of the championship cities in this all-American holiday.
GREEN CHILE SLIDERS WITH TOMATILLO LIME SAUCE
2 large poblano chiles
4 tomatillos, husks removed and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno or serrano chile, chopped
1/2 white onion, diced
1/3 cup cilantro
Zest plus juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Preheat the broiler. Place the poblano peppers on a baking sheet and broil, turning, until blackened. Transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skins and remove the seeds;
discard. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a food processor, pulse the tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime peel, lime juice and honey until smooth; season with salt.
In a large bowl, season the beef with the cumin, salt and pepper; combine. Mix in the poblanos. Halve the meat mixture, and form each into 4 3-inch patties.
In a cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Cook the patties, turning once, about 5 minutes for medium-rare. During the last minute of cooking, top with the cheese and tent with foil. Dot the roll tops with the tomatillo sauce, and assemble the sliders. Serve with the extra sauce.
In these light, puffy hollow balls of jalapeno popper, the cheese blends in with the puff pastry and puffs up when baking. When hot, the puffs taste much like jalapeno poppers but are really a delicate pastry.
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup diced jalapenos, drained
1/4 cup diced green chiles, drained
1 package puff pastry sheets (like Pepperidge Farm brand)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the package of puff pastry from the freezer to thaw.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the cream cheese in a mixing bowl, and beat with a mixer until fluffy. Add the cumin, cayenne and peppers; set aside.
Unfold a defrosted sheet of puff pastry onto a cutting board. Cut into 3- by 3-inch squares. Each sheet is 9 by 9 inches, so it will make 18 squares.
Scoop about a half teaspoon of the cream-cheese mixture into the center of each square. Spread the mixture out into a circle (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) in the center of the square. Fold opposite corners over the cheese mixture so they meet in the middle and touch.
Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water, and brush on top of each puff (if you want a golden-brown color).
Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed up and starting to brown. Transfer to a wire rack, and serve while still warm.
SMOKED SALMON SPREAD WITH CAPERS
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
6 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
1/2 cup drained capers, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Stir together cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl until smooth; then stir in remaining ingredients.
Using a large square of wax paper, lump the salmon mixture in the center, using a spatula to spread loosely into a log shape. Fold the paper over the spread, and roll until desired shape; twist the ends of the wax paper. Refrigerate for 4 hours until set. Serve with crackers.
DUNGENESS CRAB CAKES
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (Old Bay Seasoning preferred)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon grated ginger or ground ginger
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco preferred)
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons oil
1 pound lump crab (Dungeness preferred, but can use any variety)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the egg, seafood seasoning, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, ginger, hot sauce, lemon juice and oil. Add the crab, and blend into the mixture, being careful not to break up the lumps of meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Portion the crab into 2-ounce cakes, and lightly dust with flour. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cakes, and saute until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the second side until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat the process until all the cakes have been cooked.