Chef Yuji Ota shows us how to turn McDonald’s food into Ribollita, Carrozza, and Gattò di Patate with three easy recipes.
While kicking ideas around at RocketNews24, someone raised the question: What if instead of just eating McDonald’s food, we gave it to a top chef to use as ingredients to make something even better? Would that even be possible?
While Mr. Sato has been known to make a mean piece of toast, no one around had the skills to pull this off. We needed a true culinary pro for this research.
The man who answered our call was none other than Chef Yuji Ota of Trattoria E Pizzeria Amici in Ibaraki Prefecture. Trained in Naples and nicknamed “Kanto’s Strongest Italian Chef,” he said that he was determined to make works of art through the medium of McDonald’s.
However, after agreeing to our challenge Chef Ota disappeared for several weeks, but just when we began to think that he had given up, the phone rang. It was our chef informing us in a weary voice, “after a lot of trial and error, somehow I managed to make three dishes.”
Previously, we had also added the stipulation that Chef Ota’s recipes should be simple enough for anyone to recreate at home. So before our taste test, here’s how to make his creations and join in on this gourmet adventure.
Ribollita, a local food of Florence, is a hearty but mellow tasting thick soup with boiled vegetables, bread, and, in this case, McChicken.
■ 1 McChicken
■ 2 McDonald’s Side Salads
■ 150 g (2/3 cup) Tomato
■ 600 mL (20 oz)Water
■ 2 g (0.4 teaspoons) Salt
■ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
■ Italian Parsley
1 – Put the salad, water, salt, and tomato into a pot. Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables become limp.
2 – Separate the buns and chicken of the McChicken and cut each into 1 centimeter (½ inch) squares.
3 – Once the vegetables are soft, add the chicken and buns. Continue simmering until the buns blend in with the soup.
4 – When the buns become creamy remove from the heat. Before serving, add enough oil and parsley to suit your taste.
Cheeseburger in Carrozza
This creation is based on Mozzarella in Carrozza, which is a fried cheese sandwich, crispy on the outside and gooey in the center, that can be found sold on the street in Naples and other parts of Italy.
■ 1 McDonald’s Cheeseburger
■ 30 g (2 tablespoons) Mozzarella Cheese
■ 10 g (2 teaspoons) Grated Parmesan Cheese
■ 1 Egg
■ 1 Leaf of Basil
■ A small amount of Cake Flour
1 – Disassemble the Cheeseburger and remove the pickles.
2 – Stack the ingredients in this order: Bun ➡ Mozzarella ➡ Patty ➡ Mozzarella ➡ Basil ➡ Bun
3 – Apply downward force, squishing all of the ingredients together tightly.
4 – Cover entirely with cake flour and then with beaten egg and Parmesan.
5 – Fry in oil for 3 minutes at 180℃ (356℉).
6 – Cut in half and serve.
Gattò di Patate (McDonald’s Style)
Gattò di Patate (Potato Cake) came about as a fusion of French and Italian cuisine during the 18th century, hence the use of the French word “gateau” for cake. The influence of France’s love of heavy foods can well be seen in these dense calorie-rich blocks of potato, cheese, and egg. And with the great taste of McDonald’s fries, how could it miss?
■ 2 Medium McDonald’s Fries
■ 2 Eggs
■ 20 g (4 teaspoons) Grated Parmesan Cheese
■ 20 g (4 teaspoons) Mayonnaise
■ A small amount of black pepper
1 – Mix the eggs, cheese, and pepper well in a bowl.
2 – Add in the fries and make sure that they are completely covered with the mix.
3 – Put all into a mold and press together strongly from above.
4 – Microwave for 3 minutes.
And here they are! Three works of Italian cuisine made up of McDonald’s products, although you’d never guess by looking at them. Presented beautifully by Chef Ota, they look like something that would come straight from an Italian kitchen.
But looks alone don’t make a great meal. It was time to see how McDonald’s-style traditional Italian food tasted. We dispatched P.K. Sanjun and Mr. Sato (who made a poor choice in T-shirts on that particular day) for a taste test.
First, we tried the McChicken Ribollita. It had a gooey texture and filling taste that warmed our reporters down to the core — the taste was soft yet undeniably delicious. Chef Ota told them that he usually uses cabbage, but he was pleasantly surprised with how well the lettuce fit this dish.
Next, we tasted the Cheeseburger in Carrozza. In contrast to the Ribollita, this was an explosion of flavors and textures. Crispy, fluffy, creamy, and meaty all at once gave each bite a unique feeling. Also the blending of mozzarella, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses added extra depth to your typical McDonald’s cheeseburger. And if that weren’t enough, the leaf of basil give the sandwich a pleasant welcoming aroma.
Finally, the Gattò di Patate was a pleasant combination of Italian and McDonald’s tastes. It had a gentle flavor, and with the blessing of Chef Ota we added some ketchup as well, which ended up tasting great too.
And so, thanks to the skillful Chef Ota, our theory was proven valid: McDonald’s food can be used as ingredients with great results. Our reporters were mostly taken by the Cheeseburger in Carrozza, with its rainbow of flavors and textures. They said they could easily eat those things everyday.
But don’t take our word for it. You now have the recipes and we assume there is a McDonald’s somewhere in a five mile radius of you, so give it a try and see for yourself! Or if you happen to be in Ibaraki and want to try some more authentic Italian food, you can stop by Trattoria e Pizzeria Amici. Their website is linked below.
Special thanks to Trattoria e Pizzeria Amici and Chef Yuji Ota!
Original article by P.K. Sanjun
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