Salmon Wontons

Salmon wontons with gai choi, scallion, soy dipping sauce, and chili.

This dish featuring salmon wontons checked a lot of boxes for me. We have a salmon entrée on our menu and we accumulate a lot of trim from cleaning and portioning the fillets. I challenged myself to make a dish that could use up this trim so it doesn’t go to waste. I also wanted to make a dish that used a mousseline, partly because it’s a fantastic classic technique, but also because it is a required element in the CCC practical exam.

Most importantly I wanted to make a dish that would be an example of how to adapt a simple traditional preparation for service as a composed dish in a fine-dining setting. To give a specific example, this … Continue reading.

All-Turkey Pâté

Turkey liver pâté with cranberry walnut sourdough

No matter the type of liver – pork, veal, chicken, duck – I generally use this recipe, which combines liver with equal parts pork shoulder by weight.

Because I am typically working with the giblets from only one bird, I’ve never had enough turkey liver on hand to do anything more than sauté it with onions and mushrooms and eat it on toast. This past week at work we were running a holiday menu and ended up with the giblets from several birds, so I set aside a pound of turkey livers to make a terrine.

I decided to try an all-turkey pâté (ie. no pork) using the technique discussed in this post. The trick is using poultry … Continue reading.

Scallops with Melon, Fennel, and Basil

Scallop Crudo with cantaloupe, fennel, and basil.

Here’s another dish that ties together multiple ideas and techniques gleaned from the Eleven Madison Park cookbook. Actually this one is just an adaptation and simplification of an EMP dish.

The feature ingredient is scallops, and they get a treatment I haven’t seen before. U10 scallops are very briefly steamed (2 minutes at 185°F) then chilled. This slightly cooks the outermost part of the scallops while the inside remains completely raw. I’m not totally sure what the point of this is, but I think it makes the scallops easier to handle during the intricate knife-work they are about to undergo.

These par-cooked scallops are then scalped so that their tops and bottoms are perfectly flat. The trim is reserved. … Continue reading.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I set myself a challenge. Every season there would be a salad on the menu, but it needed to be a composed salad, not a tossed green salad. I was really keen to make a beet salad with goat cheese this fall. It’s a fine line between classic and clichéd, so I wanted to make it in a way that I hadn’t done before.

A colourful beet salad with goat cheese, mint, cherries, and hazelnuts.

I was really struck by the Beet Salad with Chèvre Frais in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook. Most of all I liked the presentation, with perfect rounds of sliced roasted beets arranged on the plate, and pops of colour and texture placed artfully around and among them. I played with this a lot over the … Continue reading.

Goat Cheese Mousse with Whipping Siphon

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse

The whipping siphon is a perfect example of a modern tool I eschewed and deliberately didn’t learn to use because I thought it was a pretentious, unnecessary gimmick. I’m trying to actively address my many culinary prejudices, so I challenged myself to put a component made with a whipping siphon on my 2021 fall menu.

I was keen to do a take on beet salad with goat cheese, and for the first few iterations I was just crumbling fresh goat cheese onto roasted, sliced beets. However because I had the salad components laid out and not tossed together, it was a little difficult to get the small pieces of cheese onto a fork and into your mouth. There seemed to … Continue reading.

Herb Oil, Revisited

The results of two different herb oil techniques.

Many years ago I posted about my default herb oil procedure, which I learned from The French Laundry Cookbook. In a nutshell:

  • blanche herbs,
  • shock in ice water,
  • ring out as much moisture as possible,
  • purée in a powerful blender with oil,
  • let stand overnight (optional, but recommended),
  • strain through a coffee filter.

Most of the herb oil recipes in The French Laundry Cookbook call for 4 cups of fresh herbs and 3/4 cup oil to yield only 1/3 cup herb oil.

I have sworn by this procedure for years. However recently I was reading the “Oils and Dressings” section at the back of the Eleven Madison Park cookbook, and while the Tarragon Oil follows the same … Continue reading.

Ring Cutters and Trim

A slice of pickled radish trimmed with a ring cutter.

If you had asked me a year ago what the principle uses of a ring cutter were, I would have said for punching biscuits and plating components in tidy circles. For use in plating, I’m picturing especially preparations like rice, lentils, and other starches, beef or tuna tartare, that kind of thing.

One of the simple finesse techniques that is ubiquitous in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook is using ring cutters to trim ingredients that are already naturally round, to make them perfectly round. Any time a beet, a scallop, or a daikon, are sliced, they are typically then punched with a ring cutter. The image above is a slice of pickled watermelon radish that I trimmed.

While the … Continue reading.

Galette Hors d’Oeuvres

A small galette of fromage blanc, plum jam, and basil, served as an hors d'oeuvre.

The term “galette” has about ten thousand meanings. At its most basic it is “a flat, round cake of variable size”[1] and there are dozens of regional French variations, some savoury, some sweet. In contemporary bakeries a galette is a type of pie that is shaped and baked on a sheet tray instead of in a traditional pie dish. Here in Canada galette is also the Métis word for their style of bannock. In contemporary fine-dining a galette seems to be a preparation wherein some kind of creamy interior is sandwiched between a crispy cracker-like exterior, almost like an ice cream sandwich. The Fat Duck served a rhubarb galette matching this description. In the Eleven Madison Park cookbook there … Continue reading.

Cheese Crackers

Cheese crackers made with Gruyère

These are gluten-free crackers containing only cheese and egg white. My recipe closely follows the Cheese Crackers in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook, which are a component of the Goat Cheese and Lemon Galette (photo pg. 242, recipe pg. 330). I love the clean look of these crackers. I also thought they could be a viable crust for a cheese tart I was hoping to put on a menu this winter. This is a versatile preparation that could serve as a bar snack, a canapé base, or a crispy garnish much like a frico.

While the recipe in the EMP cook book has a good core ingredient ratio and general procedure, when I made the crackers myself there were … Continue reading.

Goat Cheese Mousse set with Gelatin

This is effectively a no-bake cheese cake mixture made with goat cheese. Other cheeses with a similar consistency can also be used, such as mascarpone, cream cheese, and ricotta. I particularly like Lakeside Farmstead fromage blanc in this recipe. Unlike the Goat Cheese Mousse from Whipping Siphon, which has the texture of whipped cream and is spreadable, this is a set mousse that is sliceable.

I adapted my recipe from the Goat Cheese Mousse in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook that is a component of the Goat Cheese and Lemon Galette (photo pg. _ recipe pg. 330). I made the following changes:

  • All volume measures have been converted to metric weight measures for consistency.
  • I opted to use powdered gelatin
Continue reading.

The personal website of Edmonton chef Allan Suddaby