Joanna McLeod assembles a list of meals to match each macabre masterpiece from Hannibal season one. Simply hover the mouse over each dish to see the original inspiration from the show… if you dare.
This post contains imagery that may be disturbing or NSFW.
You might think a stomach-churningly gory show like Hannibal would be the very last thing that you’d want to accompany a meal. But when a series obsesses about food to the extent this one does, you’re going to get hungry. This is a crime show that hires a culinary consultant instead of a criminologist, and each episode in season one is named after a French dish. Showrunner Bryan Fuller’s previous shows like Pushing Daisies were gloriously lush affairs, each shot framed so the eye could devour them, and Hannibal is no different.
Hannibal takes place in a pre-Red Dragon world, in which Will Graham is called in to work for the FBI as a profiler, alongside that nice, mysteriously European psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter. The two form a friendship of sorts, and begin solving murders together. Much food is eaten, and I’m not really giving anything away to say that much of the food is people. And I gotta tell you, all of it looks delicious.
Obviously though, having an old friend for dinner with some fava beans and a nice chianti is just wrong. Why choose chianti when you could go for a Hawkes Bay syrah? After all, 2013 was such a good vintage. With that in mind, The Spinoff’s test kitchen has come up with food and TV-matching suggestions for what to eat with each episode of Hannibal season one. Please note: these are SPOILER FREE – unless you hover over the pictures.
Oh and one very important thing to note if you’re watching Hannibal for the first time: the dogs are okay. Nothing bad happens to the dogs. At least not as far as I’ve seen, and I’m nearing the end of season two now. I make no such promises about any of the people. But frankly, we care more about the animals, right?
Episode 1: Aperitif
An aperitif is normally a drink, typically alcoholic, but for this episode I’m going to suggest Yakitori. That’s barbecued chicken if you take the Japanese translation literally, but they work just as well with chunks of firm tofu instead of chicken thigh, plus vegetables like cherry tomatoes, rounds of leek, red onion and mushroom.
Stab your goodies onto skewers and brush with a mix of soy, rice wine vinegar and a little honey. Make sure you soak your skewers before you impale anything on them, so they don’t burn when you grill or fry or barbecue your kebabs. Be sure you push the skewers all the way through so they hold onto the meat nice and firmly.
Episode 2: Amuse-Bouche
Ahh, the French mouth-amuser! You’re one episode in and already know that Hannibal is a fun guy (sorry), so it must be time to break out the mushrooms. Let’s double down on our molds by using a mix of crumbly blue cheese, breadcrumbs and a little parsley to fill some big flat mushrooms, which we’ve cleaned and de-stemmed. Pop these under the grill until the cheese starts bubbling, and you have a rich and meaty snack without any meat. There’s plenty of time for that later.
Episode 3: Potage
Wikipedia tells me that potage is a category of thick soups, stews, or porridges, in some of which meat and vegetables are boiled together with water until they form a thick mush. Mmm, mush. Delicious.
How about instead of soup we make pomegranate martinis? One part pomegranate juice, one part lime juice, one part triple sec and one part vanilla vodka, shaken on ice. Be careful when you’re pouring your martinis though, because if you spill them it could make a hell of a mess. And that’s the second-to-last kind of red liquid you want trickling down onto your forehead from the floor above you. Your friend Marissa would especially hate it – that girl’s got major hangups.
Episode 4: Œuf
Quick poll: should this episode’s food matching suggestion be full of puns about eggs, or have you had an Œuf ?
In this episode, Hannibal makes breakfast for dinner, which is finally something you and I can easily replicate. I won’t offend your dignity by telling you how to make toast. Though I guess if you’re really hungry, you could always have roast beef.
Episode 5: Coquilles
Coquille is the French word for “shell”, so you might expect me to suggest shellfish. But you’re wrong, because I am allergic. Instead, I’m going to suggest you head to your local Thai restaurant to get some takeaway Angel’s Wings, chicken wings that have been deboned and stuffed with vermicelli. Or if you wanna get really fancy, head to Egmont St Eatery in Wellington for their deboned wings. Either way, just make sure you’re eating wings tonight.
Episode 6: Entrée
Finally, a dish name that I don’t have to look up. In celebration, we’re going to kick it old school with a cheese and pineapple hedgehog. Grab cubes of cheese, chunks of pineapple and toothpicks, and thrust them into half an orange. Easy! Bonus points if you can find those toothpicks that look like swords.
Episode 7: Sorbet
A sorbet is served as a palate cleanser, a way to give yourself a hand for getting through that last episode. Again, we’ll keep things simple here. Let’s eat sausages. I like Harrington’s pork and fennel myself, but you of course may prefer yours made with the intestines of people who have offended you. That’s your call. No one needs to know how your sausage is made.
Episode 8: Fromage
Fromage is cheese, but this episode calls for spaghetti. Boil it in salty water while you slowly sizzle a couple of crushed garlic cloves in olive oil and a little butter. Add chilli flakes to the garlic, and when the spaghetti is al dente, drain it, toss it with the garlic and chilli, plus a handful or two of chopped herbs and some shaved parmesan. Add another glug of olive oil. Devour your carbs while staring at the TV screen. Dreamy.
Episode 9: Trou Normand
A trou normad (literal translation: the Norman hole) is a drink – normally Calvados/apple brandy – served between courses. But frankly, for this episode, only one thing will do, and that’s a croquembouche. Yes, that’s right, you need to eat a magnificent tower assembled out of the finest filled choux pastries, encased in spun sugar and drizzled with more chocolate. Or you can eat some frozen Pam’s eclairs straight out of the box while sobbing, your call. But do try and build a tower out of them, okay?
Episode 10: Buffet froid
Stop! Ham time!
Of course, we’re not talking about just any ham here. You’ll want some coppa or prosciutto here, something refined, paper thin sliced and fancy, and then maybe some soft cheese and a baguette to stuff it in. Don’t worry, I’m not going to require you to shell out for Jamón ibérico. I know that stuff costs an arm and a leg…
Episode 11: Rôti
You probably learnt how to make stuffed potatoes in food technology class at Intermediate, but let me remind you so you can eat them with this episode. Bake large potatoes in the microwave or oven, cut them in half, scoop out their insides, season well and mash. Mix in grated cheese and anything else you fancy like onion, corn, beans, bacon or all the organs of someone who crossed you, stuff back into the potato skins (accepting that the filling is going to spill over the sides somewhat), top with more cheese, sprinkle with paprika and bake again.
Episode 12: Relevés
Relevés may relate to vegetables, but for episode 12, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be craving roast pork. And that pork will need to have crackling on it. If (again, like me) your culinary skills don’t extend to making crackling properly crackle, or you don’t have the kind of oven where you can watch everything as it roasts, you may rather get some roast pork takeaway from your local Chinese restaurant so it’s all diced up nice and ready for you to eat, with a good thick layer of crunch as well.
Episode 13: Savoureux
For our final food match of season one, you may have to travel a little out of your way to a decent supermarket or fancy European food store, because you’re going to need orecchiette pasta. Orcechiette means “little ear” and these little carbohydrate cups are simply the best at giving a hug to whatever sauce you choose to top them with. Are we a little meated out? Okay, well let’s just blanch half a head of broccoli and throw that in a food processor with a couple of handfuls of roasted cashews (unsalted), some lemon rind and juice, a clove of garlic and some glugs of olive oil. When your pasta’s cooked, simply stir your broccoli pesto through.
What a wholesome way to end our gastronomic journey through season one. Before season two, you need to find yourself a really good cinnamon scroll purveyor. But that’s a degustation for another time…
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