Spanish Iberico secret ingredient of Iron Chef

Ibérico ham was the secret ingredient of the culinary fight between Iron Chef Bobby Flay and Chef Michael Voltaggio, who performed at Food Network’s Iron Chef program a flavor duel that demonstrated their talent and creativity in employing this luscious food from Spain as weapon for culinary indulgence.
Whole legs of cured Ibérico ham and pieces of fresh Ibérico pork were the center of attraction at Kitchen Stadium, a battlefield where stoves, ovens, liquid nitrogen, blenders and even an anti-griddle framed the challenge in which chefs had 60 minutes to prepare four recipes each. The recipes were judged on the basis of taste, plating, originality and the use of the anti-griddle.
Both chefs said they were familiar with Ibérico, an ingredient they had employed previously and was described by the jury as perhaps the “most exotic seen on Iron Chef”. During the show, presenter Alton Brown explained the audience what Ibéricopork is and how many are fed only with acorns.
The three judges selected Flay as winner of this battle in which both chefs also employed other foods from Spain in their recipes. The American chef and grill master was loyal to his culinary style, preparing smoked pork belly lardons with quail eggs and Cabrales cheese; an Ibérico pork skirt with a sweet and sour salad; an Ibéricoham and shellfish broth with a frozen saffron alioli; and succulent Ibérico ribs with a pomegranate, peach and pimentón glaze.
On his side, Chef Voltaggio rendered very original Ibérico portraits with a Manchego cheese biscuit and gravy with Ibérico and maple semifreddo; a super creative cuttlefish and Ibérico lardons carbonara, where sliced cuttlefish was meant to ressemble pasta; an Ibérico bourguignon with acorn pasta, inspired on beef bourguignon, the Ibérico’s acorn feeding, and praised by the jury for its tenderness; and an Ibérico BBQ rib with a rhubarb ham soda that smelled just like pork. Voltaggio was the winner of the sixth season of Top Chef and has also been selected by Food & Wine Magazine as a Best New Chef.
The competition demonstrated the versatility of Ibérico pork, which they chefs sliced, cut in chunks, grilled, froze and vacuum-sealed.