Editors Note: "Breaking Bad" may have finally wrapped, but we know there's some of you out there still catching up on past seasons, waiting to watch the final episode, and planning to re-watch the whole series. Enjoy these character-inspired dishes by Amy Deline at The Gourmand Mom.
Have we got any "Breaking Bad" fans out there?
I recently read some comment that watched in reverse, AMC’s "Breaking Bad" tells the inspiring story of drug lord who cleans up his act, beats cancer, reunites his family, and becomes a school teacher. Sounds like a Lifetime movie. In actuality, for the past five seasons, we’ve watched the tale of a seemingly normal man’s struggle with cancer and providing for his family crumble into the most unimaginable chaos, up to the point where last episode left off, with a suggestion that perhaps there’s nothing left of that kind, normal man. The show is widely considered one of television’s best dramas and for good reason. I’m approaching the series finale with mix of eager anticipation and deep sadness for its ending.
In honor of its finale, the good folks at Cinema Blend asked me to put together a little "Breaking Bad" themed dinner party menu. Though not in any way a show about food, "Breaking Bad" gives us no shortage for dinner party inspiration. Many of the shows pivotal confrontations occur over some of the world’s most awkward meals. The following menu, designed with a New Mexican flare for the show’s setting, should give you a few good ideas for hosting your own Breaking Bad-themed dinner party.
Heisenberg’s Tableside Guacamole
During the past season, Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie met for the world’s most awkward double date at a Mexican restaurant. At the height of the tension, an upbeat waiter arrives, eagerly pushing the joint’s signature table-side guacamole. (You can see the clip here.)
Make this guacamole table-side to your guest’s liking, or prepare it ahead of time. *Squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top and cover securely with plastic wrap to prevent browning.
2 ripe avocados, halved
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, very finely diced
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper
1. Smash the avocado using the backside of a fork, a potato masher, or with a mortar and pestle. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Adjust quantities as desired.
2. Serve with Walt’s signature blue tortilla chips and Jesse’s favorite Funyuns. To go full "Breaking Bad" style, wait to offer this to your guests during the most tense part of the evening. (Orchestrate tension, if necessary.)
Gus Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos Fried Chicken Tenders over Salsa Verde with Chipotle Drizzle
No "Breaking Bad" menu would be complete without some fried chicken, from Gus Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos, the fried chicken joint which played heavily into the show’s third and fourth seasons. We served our boneless fried chicken tenders over a spicy salsa verde, drizzled with a bit of chipotle mayo.
2 pounds chicken tenderloins
3 cups buttermilk, divided
2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Soak the tenderloins in 2 cups of the buttermilk in a covered container in the refrigerator for a few hours.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium/medium-high heat, until sizzling hot.
3. Whisk together the remaining cup of buttermilk and the eggs in a large bowl. Transfer the chicken tenders to the egg mixture.
4. In a small baking dish, stir together the flour, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
5. Remove the chicken tenders from the egg mixture. Allow the excess to drip off. Press the chicken into the flour mixture until well coated on both sides. Place in the hot oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden brown. (The chicken should sizzle when placed in the oil.) Drain the cooked tenders on a paper towel. Repeat in small batches until all of the chicken has been cooked.
Slightly modified from Rick Bayless’ Salsa Verde
1 jalapeno pepper or 1-2 serrano peppers, halved, stems and ribs removed*
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 white onion, coarse chopped
10-12 cilantro sprigs, bottom portion of stem removed, coarse chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt, to taste
*Use jalapeño for a spicy sauce. Use serrano for a more mild sauce.
1. Preheat your broiler.
2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Rinse. Cut off the stem, then halve. Place the halved tomatillos, garlic cloves, and jalapeño or serrano pepper on a baking sheet. Lightly rub the tomatillos, peppers, and garlic with olive oil. Roast a few inches under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side for about 5 minutes. Once cool, transfer the entire contents of the tray (including the juices) to a blender. Add the onion and cilantro. Blend to desired consistency. Season with lime juice and salt, to taste.
1 chipotle (from can of chipotles in adobo), pureed or very finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo)
Combine all ingredients until well blended.
Skyler’s Creamy Potatoes with Cheddar and Jalapeño
The fifth season’s episode “Fifty-one,” finds Walt, Skyler, Hank and Marie seated once again at a dinner table on Walt’s 51st birthday, reflecting back the past year, with Walt spinning a web of lies while Skyler silently contemplates an escape for herself and her children. Attempting to break the tension, Marie offers a compliment about Skyler’s mashed potatoes, eager to learn how she removed all of the lumps. Skyler distractedly credits the use of a potato ricer, though her potatoes were actually store-bought and microwaved.
It may not truly be Skyler’s trick to creamy potatoes, but a potato ricer is in fact the ticket to smooth, non-gummy potatoes. By pressing the cooked potatoes through the ricer, lumps are thoroughly removed, without disturbing the cooked starches too much. I’ve had my eye on a potato ricer for many years now, though the idea to purchase one always corresponds with the holiday season, when I’m bleeding money and just can’t wrap myself around the added expense. I bought myself one yesterday in honor of this dish. Those are some smooth potatoes!
8 large russet potatoes, peel and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 cup sour cream
2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, very finely diced
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add water to just cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, until fork tender. Allow to cool slightly. Mash the potatoes in a potato ricer or food mill. Alternately, use a potato masher. Stir in the sour cream, cheese, milk, and jalapeño, just until blended. Do not over-stir. Add more milk, as desired, to reach your preferred consistency. Season with salt, to taste.
Jesse’s “Americone Dream” Inspired Ice Cream Pie
Oh, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse … poor conflicted man, with any chance of living his American dream looking pretty hopeless right about now. Trapped in a concrete cell by some uber-creeps, Todd (no doubt the creepiest one of all) offers him some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, giving him a choice between Peanut Butter Cup and Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream.
Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream combines vanilla ice cream with fudge coated waffle cone and caramel. This ice cream pie is inspired by the crave-worthy Ben and Jerry’s flavor. A waffle-cone crust gets coated with rich chocolate ganache then filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel.
*Did you know that you can make a pie crust out of just about anything that crumbles? Combine two cups of crumbs with enough melted butter to make it stick (I usually use 10-12 tablespoons for 2 cups of crumbs, though other recipes use less butter), then press it into your pie shell and bake for a few minutes to set.
2 cups ice cream cone crumbs (sugar cones or waffle cones)
10-12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Stir together the ice cream cone crumbs and melted butter, until it sticks together when pressed. Press the mixture into a deep dish pie pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Cool.
3. Bring the cream just to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir the hot cream into the chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Pour the ganache onto the bottom of the pie crust. Use a spatula to spread the ganache in an even layer on the bottom and up part of the sides of the crust. Cool.
4. Allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature. Spread the softened ice cream into the prepared crust. Place the pie in the freezer to set.
5. Before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce.
6. For more of a "Breaking Bad" effect, garnish the pie with little bits of blue rock candy or crushed blue hard candy. *You might want to wait until the kids go to bed before adding the crystal blue garnish. It just didn’t seem right to have the kids around pretend drugs, even if they’re clueless about the reference.