Archive for June, 2012

Bacon wrapped salmon, pineapple habanero sauce, and seasonal stir fry- summer flavours

The heat of summer brings bold flavours, lighter menus, and the use of all the fresh, seasonal ingredients available in Ontario right now.

Asparagus is in season right now, so I try to use it as much as possible. I also managed to get my hands on some Canadian limes recently (thank you, global warming!), so I’ve been using them in almost everything these days too. The result was a gorgeous stir fry, with some new and interesting ingredients. Of course, all the well-loved stir fry ingredients, onion, carrots, and peppers, are all in season right now as well, so now is a great time to make great, locally-grown stir fry!

I also happened to have a pineapple (Costa Rican- not everything can be sourced from here, lol!), and some habanero peppers, and those two flavours happen to work very well together. I decided to make a spicy-sweet sauce, to compliment my stir fry and bacon-wrapped salmon.

If you are watching your fat intake, or just don’t eat bacon, this recipe can be done in exactly the same way, and the bacon simply omitted. As long as you’re organized before you begin cooking, all these individual elements will come together at exactly the same time for a perfectly cooked, delicious summer meal.

The Process- getting all the elements of the meal together with no stress

I start by blanching my asparagus. Simply bring a pot of water to a boil, toss in the asparagus spears (remember to snap off the woody ends before throwing into the pot!), and blanch for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the spears from the hot water, and put into an ice bath. This will allow the asparagus to stop cooking, and stay crispy and bright green until ready to use.

Have all your veggies cut and ready to go for the stir fry- it will make it much easier for you when it’s time to get going on that. Once you’ve gotten all the components of the meal prepped- including everything you need for the pineapple sauce, you can begin cooking.

The nice thing about the salmon is that it’s relatively fool-proof. Wrap the slices of bacon gently around the fish, and place in a preheated 400 F oven for 20 minutes. The fish will remain moist because the bacon protects it from the heat, and the flavours mingle together beautifully during the cooking process. While the fish is cooking, you have more than enough time to get everything else together.

I recommend starting the rice at this point, it should be done in just enough time for the meal to be ready. Right away, get started on the pineapple sauce. Once the sauce is at the simmer stage, and with 10 minutes left for the fish, start the stir fry. Stir fry cooks fast, but requires constant attention, so keep tossing it together until it’s complete.

For plating, start with a scoop of rice, followed by a pile of stir fry (leave the asparagus spears for the end, it adds an elegant effect on the plate- see photo!), a piece of fish, a drizzle of sauce, and two or three asparagus spears.

Pineapple Habanero Sauce

You will need:

2 cups finely chopped pineapple

½ white onion, finely diced

3 habanero peppers, finely diced

½ cup water

1 lime, juiced

2 tbsp honey

½ tbsp salt

Method:

  1. Place a small amount of oil into a medium-sized pan, and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Sweat onion, pineapple and  habaneros with salt. Allow for the pineapple to cook down, the juices to escape, and the onions to almost dissolve.
  3. Add water.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, and continue to allow to cook down.
  5. Using a hand blender, blitz the pineapple mixture.
  6. Continue to simmer, and add the honey and lime juice.
  7. Cook until sauce resembles a thick, jammy consistency.

 

Bacon-wrapped salmon

You will need:

2 salmon portions, or 1 per person

2 pieces of bacon, or one strip per piece of fish

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Season fish with salt and pepper.
  2. Wrap gently in bacon.
  3. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in 400F oven, for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and rest for a few minutes before serving.

 

 

Stir Fry

You will need:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ onion, finely sliced

1 carrot, finely julienned or sliced thinly

1 red pepper, finely julienned

1 stalk of celery, finely julienned or sliced thinly

1 lime

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

4-6 asparagus spears, blanched

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Heat a large pan or wok on high heat. Add vegetable oil.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, garlic, and ginger. Continuously toss everything in the wok, making sure everything gets evenly cooked. Allow to cook down until the veg is soft and fragrant.
  3. Slice lime in half, squeeze the juice into the stir fry, and then throw the lime halves in as well to add additional flavour (do not plate with limes, they are just for flavouring while cooking)
  4. Add soy sauce, continue to toss.
  5. Add blanched asparagus spears. Toss until evenly coated and warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  6.  Remove from heat, and finish with the sesame oil.
Advertisements