Sunday, February 20, 2011

Everybody Has a Story

Last summer some friends and I were at the beach and ended up sitting near this older man. It had to be about 25 degrees that day and there he was sitting in his long sleeved collard shirt, pants and rain boots. I turned to my friend next to me and said he reminds me so much of the old man from Up! As some friends drifted off to sleep and others watching the volleyball game behind us, two of us sat there watching him, as I wondered what his story was and what he could possibly be fishing for at the shallow end of Kits Beach. Not long after, he got up and slowly walked towards us and in a thick accent asked if we would be so kind as to watch his station while he went to get some fish and chips. "Of course!" we said as we both looked at each other thinking; how sweet is he? When he came back I said, I'm going to go talk to him! I've said this before but I'm always curious to know what your favorite food was growing up or what your mom used to make for you that you loved.

I found out he was fishing for sardines and he explained to me how he would throw the net out and wait for them to get tangled up in it. As he's telling me this I notice this humongous rock by his chair wondering what in the world he needed that for (I found out later when I saw him throw this massive rock at a SEAGULL! haha) I asked how he liked to cook his sardines and he said just coated in a little flour and fried in butter! Simplicity, I love. Without me even asking, he went on to tell me that he born in Croatia and was a retired Geophysicist. When I got around to asking him what his favorite food was growing up his reaction was absolutely priceless. He threw his head back as he laughed and closed his eyes to think about it. What did he remember the most? Braised beef stew with polenta. Complete comfort food, of course. This man made my whole day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wild Salmon w/ Orange Fennel Slaw

Living in Vancouver I definitely try and take advantage of the incredible seafood we have out here, one of my favorites being wild salmon which is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Although the season for this sustainable (Ocean Wise approved) fish runs June through September, you can still find it in its frozen state at speciality seafood providers. Two of my favorites being Fresh Off the Boat, which you can find at the Winter Farmers Market and Finest at Sea which is located at 4675 Arbutus St.

I’ve had people tell me they are hesitant to cook fish because it always turns out dry but I'm telling you, the cooking method I use in this recipe is my fool proof way to succulent moist fish every time! By pouring orange juice around the fish before baking it adds flavor to the salmon while keeping it nice and moist. While I love comforting soups and stews to get me through the winter, there's something about this salmon recipe that's a refreshing change. Paired with an orange, fennel slaw I think it’s the perfect balance of flavours and textures.

1 (2 ½-3lb) wild salmon fillet (I used coho), pinbones removed
3 tbsp dijon mustard (or M&B mustard)
1 tbsp honey
s+p/grains of paradise
1/3 cup orange juice
spice/fish rub (optional, I used a blend that was made for me by a friend)

Orange Fennel Slaw
1 orange (peeled and cut into segments, squeeze out any remaining juice into slaw)
3/4 fennel bulb, sliced as thin as possible and julienned (I used a mandoline to do this)
1/4 cup fennel fronds (tips of the fennel that look similar to dill)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
10 green olives, sliced
1 small handful flat leaf parsley, stems removed

Slaw Dressing
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard (or M&B mustard)
1/2 clove garlic, minced
small pinch chili flakes
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with mother)
1/4 cup olive oil

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.On a baking sheet (with a rim), line with parchment and place salmon on top.
3.Spread on mustard, honey, s+p. Pour orange juice around the fish.
4.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until salmon feels almost firm to the touch and the layers flake apart easily. *Salmon will continue to cook after it is taken out of the oven, so you can actually take it out when it is slightly underdone.*
5. Mix slaw dressing and toss together with the orange fennel slaw. Serve on top or alongside.

I have a slight obsession with Meat and Bread's mustard. I put it on EVERYTHING. If you've never heard of Meat and Bread it's a sandwich shop here in Vancouver and you should now stop reading this and immediately get down there for their porchetta sandwich.

Always ask for extra housemade mustard and sambal (which is killer too!).