Stump the Cook

 
It's 6 p.m., hunger has taken over, everybody's cranky, and there are only odds and ends in the refrigerator. Enter Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of public radio's The Splendid Table, and her culinary supper game, Stump the Cook.

How It Works: You tell us about five ingredients in your refrigerator, and Lynne has to come up with a dish you could make with them. In her dish, Lynne also gets to use salt, pepper, one type of fat and three additional ingredients the challenger also has on hand.

This Month's Player: Rowland Archer from Wake Forest, North Carolina. He and his wife, Lana, recently bought a house with blueberry bushes that are at least 14 feet tall. They are "awash in blueberries."

Rowland's Challenge to Lynne: Fresh blueberries + canned white albacore tuna + leftover cooked angel hair pasta, naked + fresh tomatoes + rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Lynne's Idea: A classic marinated tuna and bean salad topped with blueberry-stuffed chickpea fritters. (She added canned chickpeas, bread crumbs and garlic.)

The Path:

Bean salad: In a large bowl, combine two cloves of minced garlic with two chopped medium to large tomatoes, one can of drained tuna, half a can (about 2/3 cup) of rinsed and drained chickpeas, salt, lots of black pepper and about 4 tablespoons olive oil (or to taste). Toss gently with the cooked angel hair pasta to combine, and set aside to marinate.

Chickpea fritters: Scrape the printing off the sides of two 4-by-4-inch rinds of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cut into pieces as small as possible and place in a food processor. Add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, three cloves of garlic, half a cup of breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Puree. You want a dough with a thick consistency that will hold together in small balls. Roll a portion of dough between your palms to make a ping-pong size ball. Tuck a blueberry inside the ball. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Fill the bottom of a large, heavy skillet with about 2 inches of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers, but before it smokes. Pan fry the fritters a few at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until they are nicely browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

Assemble: Place a scoop of bean-tuna salad on each plate and top with the blueberry chickpea fritters.

Rowland's Response: "She turned yuck into yum."

This Stump the Cook was produced in collaboration with the newspaper magazine USA Weekend.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.

Sally Swift

Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.