junk food challenge: pairing 2 fresh fish, with corn nuts?

sauteed dover sole wondra

sautéed fresh dover sole
grape tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, corn nuts
basil garnish

pan seared swordfish
pan seared fresh local swordfish
cherry tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, corn nuts
parsley garnish


the junk food challenge

corn nuts
a snack food made of deep fried corn kernels

“Let’s have some fun this month with something a little different – Junk Food!   Take your favorite Junk Food, something you are addicted to, for example chips or fries, and use it in a gourmet dish!   Note it is not a makeover of junk food, you must use the junk food item in your 5 star creation.”

The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.

the inspiration

photos from our trip to peru over a decade ago

machu picchu

Corn nuts are prepared by soaking whole corn kernels in water for three days, then deep-frying them in oil until they are hard and brittle. The kernels are soaked because they shrink during the harvesting and cleaning process, and rehydration returns them to their original size.

Albert Holloway invented corn nuts in 1936. He originally sold them to tavern owners to be given away free to their patrons as a snack that would be great with beer.

After Holloway and his sons learned of a breed of corn grown in Cusco, Peru that grew large one-inch kernels, the company researched developing a hybrid of the Cusco corn that could be grown effectively in California. After a decade of research, the company introduced CornNuts made with the hybrid variety in 1964. (from wikipedia)

swordfish recipe

swordfish corn nuts, junk food challenge

Lightly coat fresh swordfish with mayonnaise. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook in a dry non-stick skillet over high heat to sear both sides until the fish is just cooked through.

Meanwhile, toss cherry tomatoes with crushed garlic, red chili flakes, olive oil with a splash of white wine. Cook in a 400° oven until the tomato skins break open. Toss with corn nuts.

pan seared swordfish

Serve swordfish topped with corn nut mixture and fresh parsley.

machu picchu

dover sole recipe

dover sole, corn nuts tomato basil
saute dover sole wondra

Dust fresh dover sole filets with Wondra flour, season with salt and pepper
then sauté in olive oil.

grape tomato corn nut basil topping

Toss grape tomatoes with crushed garlic, red chili flakes, olive oil with a splash of white wine. Cook in a 400° oven until the tomato skins break open. Toss with corn nuts and a chiffonade of basil.

dover sole tomatoes corn nuts

Top dover sole with corn nut mixture.

peru market
the fun junk food challenge round-up

donuts, pretzels, hot dogs, chocolate covered espresso beans, velveeta
beef jerky, funyons, beer nuts, instant noodles, potato chips, wheat thins
mcdonald’s fries, waffle fries, cheetos churros, corn nuts
popcorn, onion rings, cinnamon toast crunch, wasabi peas

Please visit the Five Star Foodie for this month’s super creative Junk Food Round-Up, posted here.

21 thoughts on “junk food challenge: pairing 2 fresh fish, with corn nuts?”

  1. Dover sole is one of my all time favorite foods, and I think you showed a very creative flair incorporating corn nuts and actually making them look appetizing. Thanks for the history lesson. Who knew? And, Peru….must have been exciting.

  2. Your photos are gorgeous, Lori! Dover sole is a favorite of mine and I love how you incorporated it into your dish. And the corn nuts are such a fun touch!

  3. Dover Sole and Swordfish are favorites of mine. BUT, I love me some corn nuts and beer nuts. Way to go. Another job done right.

  4. You not only transformed junk food, you educated and entertained. Great job all around!

    Peru is near the top of my travel list. In the 10 years since you’ve been there, it’s become known as a food capitol. Maybe we should organize a foodie trip? I’m in!

    1. We had some incredible meals back then Joan. I bought the most inspirational cookbook there and look to it frequently: The Art of Peruvian Cuisine by Tony Custer. I think you would really love it.
      A foodie trip sounds great!

  5. Great post all around, and such a creative use for your junk food ingredient! Both dishes look fantastic and perfectly prepared! And love the photos from your trip, just beautiful!

  6. Believe it or not I have never had corn nuts, but now I’m thinking I need to pick up a bag to try them —–not so much out of the bag, but in this dish! Beautiful presentation as always.

  7. Corn nuts is a junk food? I assume it’s not real corn? I’ve never had it so I don’t know what’s like. Obviously they don’t look like junk food at all! As always this is one of your gorgeous creation. My brother has been to machu pichu before. It was a long way from Japan but he really enjoyed the trip. I’m closer but I’m not going anywhere… anyway, great post LL!

  8. I love corn nuts but I really never knew how they were made! You did a great job with this challenge! Your dish is absolutely beautiful. The colors are so bright and really pop in these pictures! Looks sooo delicious!

  9. Beautiful makeover! Wondra flour is the best for lightly coating fish, both preparations look so appetizing. I love crunchy corn nuts, but didn’t know the history behind them 🙂 What an amazing trip that must have been!

  10. That is cool to learn something from junk food. Never had a corn nut in my life nor do I even know what they taste like. Your photos are magnificent (but then they always are). You have me wondering where to find them now… love the recipe.

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