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Pan roasted maple-soy B.C. salmon fillet.
Pan roasted maple-soy B.C. salmon fillet.

Bring your appetite to Olympic games

Rita Demontis, QMI Agency
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Toronto Sun

Open wide for the Olympics!

In just a few short days all eyes will be on Vancouver for the Winter Games and, along with proudly celebrating our Canadian Olympians and heritage, the world will also get a taste of what Canada, in particular, Vancouver, is all about -- especially in the food department.

And boy! -- we're all in for a delicious, west-coast feast.

"Vancouver is characterized by its true melting pot of tastes and expectations," says well-known chef and culinary specialist Lesley Stowe, owner of Lesley Stowe's Fine Foods which makes Raincoast Crisps. "From Indian and Japanese to Italian and Greek, our city offers a wide variety of different taste and cultural experiences." Stowe says due to Vancouver's natural beauty and accessibility, it has "attracted a diverse and adventurous population that embraces and demands great food...I hope that Olympic visitors from all over the world have an opportunity to indulge in the foods that Vancouver is famous for."

Canada is also home to some of the most dynamic ingredients, note two award-winning chefs who have both participated in Olympics of a different sort: The Culinary Olympics. Chefs James Bodanis and Rudi Fischbacher, professors and program co-ordinators in Ontario's Humber College's Culinary Arts & Science program, have participated in past Culinary Olympics, helping win gold and two silver medals in the 2008 Culinary Olympics. Although still two years away, the two chefs are busy preparing for the next Culinary Olympics, taking place in Germany. (Humber will be the official training venue for Culinary Team Canada and Culinary Team Ontario.)

"Both are different Olympics yet they both have the same standards," note the two. "The same principles and strategies apply - we give the best we can, and celebrate the same glory of sportsmanship."

The Winter Olympics will bring into focus what Canadian cuisine is all about, which is basically the sum of its many parts," say the two. "There is no one item that defines who we are as a country, the Winter Games are going to bring this message to the world." All we can say is -- let the games begin!

PAN ROASTED MAPLE-SOY B.C. SALMON FILLET

Vancouver is famous for its wild salmon and chefs Rudi Fischbacher and James Bodanis created this recipe in honour of the upcoming games. 4 salmon fillets, about 6 oz./175g each
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup
1/4 cup (50ml) low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup (50ml) Japanese rice wine (Mirin)
1 Tbsp. (15ml) fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. (15ml) fresh ginger, minced
1 stalk lemongrass
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. (30ml) vegetable oil
1-2 tsp. (5-10ml) corn starch
1 Tbsp. (15ml) sesame oil

In a stainless steel bowl, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, rice wine, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and cilantro. Remove 1/3 of marinade and place in a second bowl. Reserve rest for finishing glaze. Marinate salmon in 1/3 mixture for 2 hours in refrigerator. Heat vegetable oil in an ovenproof non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; remove salmon from fridge and season sides with pinch of salt and pepper. Add salmon to skillet and sear on both sides. Place salmon in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for about 10-12 minutes or until medium.

Remove salmon from pan and place on a serving plate; add remaining marinade to skillet and bring to a simmer, add cornstarch diluted with 1 Tbsp. (15ml) cold water to sauce to thicken, finish with sesame oil.

Serve with Celery Root, Apple, Orange and Fennel salad.

CELERY ROOT, APPLE, ORANGE AND FENNEL SALAD

1 small celery root
1 Gala apple
1 orange, zest and segments
1 small head fennel
1/3 cup (75ml) fresh Edamame, peeled
Sliced radish (for garnish)

Dressing:
3 stems chives
2 Tbsp. (30ml) rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. (5ml) sugar
1/3 cup (75ml) grapeseed oil ?
Salt and Pepper ?

Cut celery root, apple and fennel into thin strips. Core and slice apple and place in bowl of cold water with 1 Tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice (to maintain colour). Zest orange then segment it. Set aside.

Dressing: Cut chives on a thin bias and place in a medium size bowl. Add rice wine vinegar, sugar and slowly whisk in grapeseed oil; add orange and lemon zest, season to taste.

Combine dressing with celery root, fennel and apple; add Edamame and orange segments, reserve in refrigerator.

For presentation, place salad in centre of plate, place cooked salmon on top to salad, drizzle sauce around plate. Serves 4.

BASIL AND BABY SHRIMP DIP

Recipe courtesy of Lesley Stowe. (Lesleystowe.com). Serve with your favourite breads or crisps.

3/4 cup (175 ml) sour cream
3/4 cup (175 ml) mayonnaise
1 lb (500g) fresh-cooked hand-peeled baby shrimp
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) finely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. (5 ml) Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. (5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) grated lemon zest
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a bowl, stir together sour cream and mayonnaise. Mix in shrimp, onions, basil, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Dip can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Makes 3 cups (750 ml).

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