I just got back from a quick (36 hour) jaunt to Vancouver that included the opening of Whitecap‘s hip new office in Gastown (around the corner from Meat & Bread! And Revolver!), breakfast with one of my favourite people at the new Forage in the Listel, lunch on the steps of the VAG with one of my favourite food bloggers, and dinner at YEW in the Four Seasons (it was also Dine Out Vancouver) with Ned (whom some of you may know I did a few seasons of a not-on-Food-Network cooking show years ago). Which all sounds very glamorous now that I type it out here, and I suppose it kind of was, except that I’m really not all that glamorous, even when thrust into a swanky hotel. (I hope that didn’t come across as a humblebrag, but people have been asking what I was up to in Vancouver, and that was what I was up to… that and buying far too much coffee and trying not to get rained on.)
Anyway, I hadn’t been to YEW before – it was a beautiful room, and it was nice to see Ned in his element. He brought us (Ethan and I) some of the best seafood I’ve ever eaten – a bento box of Dungeness and lobster tacos with guacamole, buttery albacore tuna, steelhead trout with grapefruit and ponzu dip, then roasted sablefish. I came home with two cans of albacore in my carry-on bag, canned by Ned and his crew at YEW. You’ll notice two ingredients on the label: tuna and love.
I made these tuna melts using ahi tuna steaks for one of last year’s issues of Swerve, and they were a total hit – so good I’m not sure any of us came up for air as we devoured them. When debating how best to use these special tins of tuna and love, real melts came to mind.
Really, all it is is tuna salad made with the very best ingredients: an ahi tuna steak, seared in a hot pan with salt and pepper, or a can of the very best you can get your hands on, broken apart with a fork and tossed with 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh fennel (if you have some, or can easily acquire it), 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, 1/4 cup proper mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Pile on slices of crusty bread or open focaccia, scatter with grated aged white cheddar or Gouda and broil for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden.
Done right, the tuna melt should reclaim its rightful place at the lunch – or dinner – table.
January 27 2013 | sandwiches and seafood | 7 Comments »
It’s too hot for words today, and besides, any words I do have must be reserved for actual paycheck-type work, assignments that come from editors and have deadlines and some days feel a little like homework. OK, a lot. Not that I’m complaining. If I didn’t have homework looming, I’d never get things like laundry and dusting done. Wait – I don’t.
I came across this recipe in the Calgary Stampede Centennial Cookbook, which seemed fitting this week. It’s the sort of thing I’d most often flip by, but this time I decided to give it a go, and was glad I did. The seared scallops (I skipped the wasabi) were divine, and I’d never have thought to make a creamy dressing out of fresh peppery arugula and Key lime juice. I love an interesting salad, one that counts as dinner without feeling like “just a salad”, and this is one.
Don’t you think Stampede should have an intermission? Maybe a day or two? I vote yes.
Toni’s Arugula Salad with Pistachio-Crusted Scallops
Adapted (slightly!) from Come n’ Get It! The Calgary Stampede Centennial Cookbook, submitted by Toni Dixon, Director, Calgary Stampede
1 mango, pitted and diced
a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
a small chunk of purple onion, finely chopped
juice of half a lime
Key Lime Dressing:
1 cup fresh arugula
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
2 Key limes, halved and squeezed
2 tsp. grainy Dijon
1 1/2 tsp. honey
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. wasabi paste (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped or crushed
1 tub arugula
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
Make the salsa and dressing first: toss all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender (or tall container if you have a hand-held immersion blender) and whiz until smooth and emulsified. It will be a creamy pale green.
Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of canola oil. Mix the mayo and wasabi paste and spread over each scallop; place the pistachios in a shallow dish and dip the scallops in to coat on both sides. Sear in the skillet for a minute or two per side, or just until cooked. Set aside on a plate.
Arrange the arugula on a platter and place the salsa and avocado over top. Set the cooked scallops on top, along with any rogue pistachios from the pan, and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
July 10 2012 | one dish and salads and seafood | 13 Comments »