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Culinary Capers Ancient Grains and Roasted Root Vegetables

Spring is in the air and that means we are all ready for a healthier lifestyle, including what we eat. For this month’s recipe I say, “Move over quinoa and hello ancient grains”! Our kitchen team has been testing out a variety of grains for various menu items and our salad recipe below highlights the satisfying nuttiness of rye and kamut.  Shaving the asparagus creates a lighter textural experience.

If you haven’t brined salmon before –  try it and you will be hooked.  Brining intensifies the flavour and adds moistness to the finished salmon.  The asparagus and salmon preparations are deliberately modest to allow them to shine in this clean and healthy dish.

Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm
line-thin-600Ancient Grains and Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 4

1 cup            cooked rye
1 cup            cooked kamut
1 cup            butternut squash, 1 inch dice
1 cup            cauliflower florets
½ cup           carrots, 1 inch dice
1 cup            parsnip, 1 inch dice
1 Tbsp          extra-virgin olive oil
1                   medium sized beet
2 tsp             mint, chiffonade
1 Tbsp          parsley, chiffonade
2 tsp             fresh lemon juice
2 tsp             apple cider vinegar
1                   shallot, minced
1 tsp             preserved lemon, minced
1 tsp             cumin seeds
3 Tbsp          extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp             fine sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375̊ F.

Put beets in a saucepan and add water until covered 2 inches. Boil for 30 minutes to 1 hour until knife tender.  Add water as needed. While still warm, remove skin (recommend wearing latex gloves). Dice in 1 inch cubes.

Toss each vegetable (excluding beets) in the first measure of olive oil (1 Tbsp). Season with salt and pepper.  Spread out loosely on sheet pans and roast separately for 20 to 25 minutes. Combine all.

Chef tip:
This salad may be made the day ahead to save time, simply leave the herbs out and stir them in just before serving.

Cooking whole grains: for 1 cup of cooked grains, start with 1/3 cup of raw.  Cook in lots of simmering water until tender (anywhere from 1 ½ – 2 hours). Drain and chill. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept covered in refrigerator.

Shaved Pickled Asparagus
Serves 4

8                asparagus spears
¼ cup        pickling liquid

Use a peeler to shave thin slices of asparagus lengthwise. Place in large bowl and pour boiling water over asparagus, let sit for 30 seconds, drain and cool in ice water. Pat dry and then soak in pickling liquid for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pickling Liquid
Makes ½ cup

2½ Tbsp          mirin
1½ Tbsp          white sugar
½ tsp               fine sea salt
1/4 cup            rice wine vinegar

Combine all, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Store any extra in your fridge for use at a later date.

Brined Salmon
Serves 4

1 ½ lbs            salmon, skin off, pin bones removed
4 cups             brine

Preheat oven to 350̊ F.
Cut salmon into 6 oz pieces.  Place in chilled brine water for 30 minutes. Drain and discard brine water, pat salmon dry.  Place on parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until salmon is just cooked.

Brine Water
⅓ cup              Kosher salt
½ cup              white sugar
4 cups             water

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in salt and sugar. Once all of the salt and sugar is dissolved, add the remaining 2 cups of cold water.  Chill.

Chef tip: Brine may be kept in the fridge for up to a month and may be used on many different meats including chicken, pork and turkey.

Photo: Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm

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