Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pâté au saumon with Funky Salad

I was sitting at my desk at work and suddenly I had a craving for pâté au saumon, a Québécois expat food I grew up on. What this meal is is basically just a meat pie whose protein is salmon. The only salmon that might be found in the middle of the Boreal forest where I'm from are those who are hopelessly lost or cans of this rich pink fish. So it's a Pacific sockeye salmon meat pie in a Québec recipe, made by a guy from Northern Ontario whose presently residing in New Brunswick. How's that for an all-Canadian meal?! (Sorry prairies...)

To offset things, I made a recipe from the best known British chef, Jamie Oliver. When it comes to greens, I would like to consider myself an amature. Truth be told, I think most of us cringe at the thought of paying for and eating something called "dandelion greens".
"Isn't that the crap that grows in my front yard that's full of ants I just can't seem to get rid of?" you ask.
"Why yes," answers the celebrity chef. "Would you like to pay me a ridiculous price to eat them?"
"I think I do Mr. Celebrity Chef. I think I do. Your popularity persuades me."
Ridicule aside, the salad was a bit too expensive for my tastes. Many of the ingredients in this salad recipe aren't readilly available unless you live in a metropolis. These ingredients include fennel, arugula, dandelion leaves, watercress, baby chard, asparagus, and fresh chervil. I found everything except the chard and watercress. They were out of chard so the only thing really not found was the watercress. And the only reason I found any of the other ingredients is because they opened a new grocery store in town and are making an effort to be cutting edge. After a while they'll have wasted so much produce that it'll be back to iceberg and romaine lettuce.

Pat's pâté au saumon

Dough...super flaky and rich...the best ever!!!
200ml shortening
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 egg
200ml water

1. Cut shortening into flour.
2. Add salt, vinegar, the egg and water. Mix well. The dough should be pretty sticky. Refrigerate till ready to use.

1/4 cup carrot, brunoise (cut julienne and then cut into small cubes)
1/4 cup celery, brunoise
1/3 cup onion, brunoise
1 tbsp olive oil
450g canned sockeye salmon (I just used two 213ml cans)
1 cup cooked and mashed potato flesh (it's good to use leftover baked potatoes)
2 tbsp sour cream
1 egg
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tbsp fennel greens and chervil (or dill or parsley...I just happened to have these herbs on hand)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sweat the carrot, celery and onion in olive oil till soft. It's best to keep the lid on for this since the goal is to keep the humidity in the pot with the vegetables.
2. Mix together the salmon, mashed potato flesh, sour cream and egg. Fold in sweated vegetables, lemon zest and herbs. Season to taste.
3. Take dough out of fridge, roll out and layer into a greased 8 1/2 inch (or 22cm) wide pie dish. Dump salmon mixture into the prepared pie bottom.
4. Place another sheet of dough on top of the pie and crimp edges. Poke or cut holes in top of pie.
5. Cook pie in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes then bring temperature down to 350 degrees and cook for 30 minutes.
6. Serve hot.

Sorry that my measurement systems are all over the place. That's what happens when you live in a non-metric system country beside the largest metric system country in the world. Maybe it's time for the US to join the rest of the world and convert.

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