TV’s most charming cannibal now has his own cookbook

TV’s most charming cannibal now has his own cookbook

Having friends for dinner? Janice Poon, food stylist for TV’s Hannibal, which starred Mads Mikkelsen as the ever-so-charming people-eater, has come out with a cookbook of recipes from the show—minus the human ingredients, of course. “Who would have thought that my life would become so entwined with a cannibalistic serial killer?” says Poon. “But as we used to say, Hannibal will steal your heart—and your liver and your lung and your kidneys.” Here, a handful of Poon’s favourite recipes (none of which include fava beans) for “fannibals” to make at home.

Protein Scramble

“This dish was from the very first food scene we ever shot. Hannibal mysteriously called it ‘protein scramble’, because of course the sausage was made of people. It’s supposed to look like many things: jaws clamping down, ribs cracking open; the idea that something is spilling out that was once contained—like a human ribcage that’s been ripped open… beautifully, though.”
 
 

Crab Pilaf

“This dish is just like people: crabby—and their own serving dish if they don’t play their cards right. Hannibal served this pilaf to Tobias, and the funny thing is, because Tobias is a killer himself, he’s afraid to eat it, thinking that it’s been poisoned. To that, Hannibal says, ‘Poison you? I wouldn’t do that to the food.’ That’s just so Hannibal—he would poison Tobias in a second, but he treated his ingredients with great respect. He always said that you should ‘cook the rude.’ The more technique you apply to something, and the more sophisticated the techniques are, the more refined it becomes. And so, he’s really doing these rude people a favour by cooking them—he’s refining them.”
 
 

Ash- and Salt-Baked Snapper

“This recipe references a dish Hannibal made for Dr. Chilton in the “Antipasto” episode. Hannibal removed Chilton’s kidney and then, funny enough, served him a vegetarian dish. The dish he made was ash-baked celeriac. I wanted the book to be vegetarian-friendly, but ash-baked celeriac is a lot of work for very little reward. One thing I didn’t want to do as a cookbook author, was include a recipe that makes someone think ‘I’m going to take the time to make this’, and then they make it and think they’ve done something wrong.”
 
 

Vegetarian Osso Buco

In Episode 202, Hannibal does a lovely version of osso buco with a man’s leg, and he cuts the leg using a band saw. Our prosthetics guy found out at midnight the night before filming that Hannibal had a scene where he was to cut a human leg. So he set out to make three legs—three chances for Mads to get it right. Now, he was a brilliant prosthetics maker, but he was under the gun and he came to the set with only one good one. The pressure was on. We practiced a little bit on one of the wrecked ones, but Mads didn’t—he’s not into practicing. The moment comes, we’re rolling, Mads steps up, saws one… two… three. When he got to the foot, he threw it up in the air and it landed in a bucket. Well, we hardly ever applauded, but the whole studio broke out in applause.
 
 

Clay-Baked Chicken

“This is an original Asian recipe, but in the show, Hannibal applied it to Gideon’s own thigh. Gideon is especially rude, because he’s got arrogance on top of rudeness, and Hannibal just can’t bear arrogance—can you imagine? Perhaps there’s only room for one arrogant person at the dining table. Clay baking was José’s [James Beard–awarded José Andrés, the show’s consulting chef] idea because he felt it was a really interesting way of roasting a thigh. It’s a good way of roasting it, too, because thigh meat would be quite tough, and would need that slow cooking. I chose chicken, because, as I say in the book, you have double the thigh meat and it’s not nearly as much trouble to push into the oven—nor is it illegal.”
 
 

Broken teacup parfait

“There’s a very iconic image—I guess it’s called a meme—in the show, and that is of a broken teacup. Early on in Season One, a teacup is dropped and it becomes a metaphor for not being able to bring back the past. Hannibal is always trying to mend that teacup, or we are all trying to mend that teacup, so we can go back to a time when it was still potential. It’s poignant, and meaningful and yummy all at the same time.”