Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Corn dogs!

You're at the fair. It's summer. This is what you want. Corn dogs. Better yet, Jumbo Corn dogs. One of America's most beloved additions to the world's culinary culture. Served with ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce...

So, with all the supposed American creativity going on here in the birthplace of corn dogs, why are they all pretty much the same thing? A large hot dog or Polish sausage with a stick up its nether end, battered and fried. Ok, they're tasty, but what if you were at the fair every day? Would you perhaps yearn for a flight of corn dogs, each one different? So different that you could eat them for at least a week and never repeat the experience? No, we're not talking calories or belly diameter here. Just flavor.

The basic corn dog has a flour/corn meal batter, baking powder/baking soda, salt, pepper, milk (or buttermilk) and oil (from frying). They can have egg, bacon drippings, sugar... Plus sauce.

Chef Ray at ARC once made corn dogs using Toulouse style French garlic sausages. I ate too many, and I wasn't the only one. Proof that there's room for creativity in the dog-on-stick realm.

So, after my three days at the fair, where I diligently inspected more booths than you could shake a (corn dog) stick at, I started thinking... corn dogs for a week... two weeks...

Day 1:
Basic corn dog: standard batter, beef hot dog. Get this part done and end your jonesing for the traditional.

Day 2:
Green chili corn dog: Green chili/pork/tomatillo sausage in Chili/fresh corn batter. Cilantro mayonnaise.

Day 3:
North African dog: Spicy lamb merguez sausage in Corn/cilantro batter. Harissa sauce (red peppers, chilis, garlic, olive oil...)

Day 4:
Clucking Corn Dog: Chicken mousseline in garlic/parsley corn batter, dipped in beer batter and fried again for crunch. Served with aioli.

Day 5:
Salmon dog: Thin-sliced salmon fillet, doused with lemon-dill sauce, rolled, wrapped in nori (seaweed), rolled in rice, dipped in wasabi tempura batter. Served with tempura dipping sauce.

Day 6:
HogDog: Italian pork sausage with fennel, wrapped in bacon, lard batter. Served with bacon dripping - basil mayo.

Day 7:
Squash Dog: zucchini with burdock (gobo) root inside, rosemary/garlic/sage paste, blue corn/quinoa batter, garlic aioli. All organic, of course.

Day 8: 
SheepDog: ground lamb, bulgur wheat, pine nuts, cinnamon, sesame seed batter, tahini sauce.

Day 9: 
DimSumDog: ground chicken, garlic, chives, five spice powder. Rolled in dim sum dough (like for char siu bao) and steamed. Black bean/chili sauce for dipping.

Day 10:
Melanzana: Grilled eggplant round, Parmesan cheese, Pecorino romano cheese, Garlic paste. Onion-Parmesan batter. Marinara sauce for dip. Alternate: use polenta instead of corn dog batter.

Day 11:
Molé Dog: sage/turkey/garlic/chili sausage, chocolate/chili batter, five chili sauce for dipping.

Day 12:
Fire Dog: Habanero/onion/pork sausage, bhut jolokia pepper batter, habañero chili relish.

Day 13:
Wimp Dog: Potato/turkey/chive sausage, parsley/chive batter, lemon thyme sauce. This is sort of medicinal, to help people get over the fire dog.

Day 14:
Mastiff: One pound ground beef/pork bacon sausage, horseradish batter, beef jus for dipping. This is so they don't leave hungry.

There are still a few more options, but two weeks of corn dogs should keep anyone happy. If you make any of these, please let me know how they came out.

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