We've asked the eliminated contestants from MasterChef: Back to Win to share with us the dish that made them fall in love with cooking — because even world-class chefs had to start somewhere. And we've all got plenty of time — and the reality TV inspiration — to put our culinary skills to the test.
This Deep-Fried Broccoli Po' Boy from Simon Toohey is basically the direct inverse of his overcooked broccoli from his Elimination cook. "It was a big flicking the bird towards my dish last night basically," he laughed. "If steamed broccoli isn't the right way to go, then I deep-fried the living daylights out of it, which was so good."
"This is one epic way to make broccoli taste good," Simon explained. "I LOVE this sandwich and I know you will too. I can't explain the joy it gave not only me, but the crew and my partner when we chowed down on these rolls of deep fried heaven."
He described how the broccoli sub played on the po' boy from Louisiana in the 1920s. "It used to be with fried oysters and fried pork and basically white loaf. [It's a] white French baguette, with fried stuff in there — prawns when they were cheap, oysters because they were basically free if they got them from the river, and pork pieces which are always the offcuts, the cheaper cuts.
"I wanted to sort of represent that in a very tongue-in-cheek, reverse way, where I just deep-fried the world of broccoli into this beautiful batter, dumped it in hot oil, and then put a coleslaw and a little grated carrot and then heaps of vegan mayonnaise on top . . . I'm eating it now."
- For the broccoli:
½ cup flour
¼ cup cornflour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
150ml ice cold soda water
2 cubes ice
300ml fry oil (vegetable, canola)
- For the hot sauce mayo:
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp smoked paprika
3 dash hot sauce like tabasco
1 tsp salt
- For the po' boy:
1 French stick or white roll
2 big tomatoes
1 iceberg lettuce
- Cut the broccoli into manageable sized pieces. With the stem, cut the very end off, cut off the edges and cut the rest into long strips.
- With the batter, put everything into a bowl except the fry oil (and the broccoli at this stage) and mix, trying to get as many lumps out as possible. But it’s OK — lumps can be good as they create extra crunch.
- Put the fry oil in a deep pan or pot and bring it to 180°C. (Get a cooking thermometer — they are cheap and so useful.) If you don’t have a thermometer, test by putting a little of the batter in the pan. If it starts bubbling nicely, it’s ready.
- Put the chopped broccoli into the batter and move it about. Then, a few at a time, take the broccoli out of the batter, give a little wobble to get rid of the excess batter then place gently into the hot, hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot, otherwise the oil temperature will drop and make the broccoli soggy and oily.
- Fry for about eight minutes, turning halfway through, take out and place onto a drying rack or a bowl with kitchen towel lining the bottom. Season. Repeat.
- To make the mayo, place the egg at the bottom of a bowl or skinny vessel, and add all the other ingredients on top. Place the stick blender in the mixture, turn on full and slowly move it around and then lift up. The mixture should emulsify.
- To make your po’ boy, slice the iceberg lettuce into strips, slice up the tomato and place the bread in the oven for five minutes at 180°C or until crisp.
- Slice the bread, place the mayo on one side, add the lettuce, tomato, fried broccoli and anything else if you so please. Place the top on, cut in half and enjoy it!!!
- 1 sandwich
- Prep Time
- 5 minutes
- Cook Time
- 8 minutes
- Total Time
- 12 minutes, 59 seconds