There’s a collection of dishes that seem to be mandatory at a watch party for the Super Bowl – a pro football game that has developed a way of adding to our waistlines every bit as much as it adds to our excitement. Yet there’s absolutely no reason you have to limit your Super Bowl party to that collection of dishes.
We, of course, have nothing against chicken wings, sliders, cocktail meatballs, chili or bean dip, or indeed against the seemingly limitless variety of chips and crackers that can be set out for your party. But we’ve also noted a tendency – a real trend, no less – for people interested in food the other 364 days of the year to let that interest expand the culinary horizons of what the NFL likes to call The Big Game.
Here at Fischer & Wieser, we actually are your best friends when it comes to surprising Super Bowl guests with unexpected, bold and occasionally global flavors. Our secret weapon – more than 170 jams, jellies and sauces – can quickly and easily become your secret weapon. Of course, we’ll still be with you if you opt for a tradition: Our Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce poured over cream cheese with plenty of crackers for serving.
But don’t let your imagination stop there. At the simplest level, we have a selection of pasta and other savory sauces in our Italian-inspired Mom’s line, plus the many flavors of Asia in our Dr. Foo’s Kitchen line. The latter are awesome if you want to set out a quick and easy version of a Thai or Vietnamese noodle dish, or simply offer some sweet garlic chile sauce as a dip for spring and summer rolls. It’s a safe bet your Super Bowl guests will be happy you did.
The real key to letting our sauces elevate your party is to think outside the box, at least a little. We like to tell people to look beyond one specific use and actually taste what’s in something – or, in chef vocabulary, what the flavor profile is. Thus, Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce can delight you far removed from spaghetti, such as serving as base for simmering Hungarian meatballs. A generous dusting of paprika sets these meatballs apart in a tribute to the lovely Hungarian capital of Budapest.
A slider is a slider is a slider, right? Not always. We especially like to slow-cook chicken in the style of pork shoulder, then shred the tender meat with a fork and douse it liberally with Dr. Foo’s award-winning Bali Barbecue Sauce. The same sauce works amazingly well when we baste shrimp during grilling, assuming your Super Bowl comes with weather comfortable enough to consider cooking outside.
Fried pickles are a beloved part of Super Bowl in some parts of the country, and we’ve been known to eat our weight in the things. But instead of slices of kosher dills, why not use those small, bright-tasting pickles the French call cornichons. Instead of a flour batter, try cornmeal, as you might for frying oysters. And instead of ranch dressing, come up with your own mix of mayonnaise and one of our delightful Fischer & Wieser mustards.
For all of this, one of our new favorites party foods is a spin on a traditional Tuscan dish, there a puree of white cannellini beans spread over toasted slices of crusty bread. In general, anything used top toasted bread can be considered crostini (which is plural), with undoubtedly the best-known version being bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Ask any Tuscan, though, and his or her favorite might be the one with pureed beans.
We do love to add some Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce or Special Marinara when we are pureeing our cooked beans, but the real breakthrough is using black-eye peas instead of cannellini. You won’t find better crostini for Super Bowl Sunday.
BLACK-EYED PEA CROSTINI
You might consider saving this recipe for your next New Year’s celebration, since black-eyed peas are often eaten for good luck at the start of each new year. But don’t start saving it until after Super Bowl, since it might turn out to be one of the most popular items on your table. We can all thank the people of Tuscany for this one.
1-2 strips bacon (I used 1)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cans cooked black-eyed peas, most liquid poured off
1 cup Mom’s brand Spaghetti Sauce
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Cook the bacon in the olive oil until crisp, then drain the bacon on paper towels. Cook the carrot and onion, in the remaining bacon-infused oil until carrot is tender and onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer carrot and onion to the paper towels to drain, and pour off fat from the pan. Stir the garlic around the pan over medium-high heat no more than 1 minute, not letting it burn, then add the black-eyed peas and chopped tomato. Crumble the bacon and add it to the beans, along with the carrot and onion.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until flavors are melded and beans have started to break down, about 20 minutes. You can smash some in the pan with a fork. Transfer to a bowl and puree until smooth with an immersion blender, or puree in a countertop blender, in batches if necessary. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve with slices of crusty Italian ciabatta or French baguette that have been toasted in the oven with a little olive oil and kosher salt.
Note: this old Tuscan recipe can be made with canned cannellini beans most traditionally. Great northern or navy beans work well too.