Spring is the season for asparagus. The tender green shoots popping out of the soil in early spring are especially prized for their fleeting seasonal appearance. Asparagus is extremely versatile, offering flavour to every recipe. For this recipe, you can make an authentic pizza dough or use a ready-made dough; you can also substitute with a gluten-free alternative base.
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose, whole wheat, or spelt flour, plus extra
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp/11 mL) active dry yeast 1 tsp (5 mL) raw cane sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating bowl
2/3 cup (160 mL) warm water, 105 to 115 F (40 to 46 C) Cornmeal, for dusting
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra 1/3 cup (80 mL) grated mozzarella, or dairy-free substitute
1 small sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
3 tsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill, divided, plus extra 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt, plus extra
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper, plus extra 1 cup (250 mL) fresh arugula or 1 small bunch fresh watercress
1/3 cup (80 mL) full-fat plain Greek yogurt, about 10% fat, or plain soy yogurt
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard 1/2 lb (225 g) thick stemmed asparagus
3 oz (85 g) thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon, cut into strips
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Coat medium-sized bowl with olive oil. In food processor, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. With motor running, add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil and warm water. Continue processing until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If too sticky, whirl in a couple more tablespoons of flour. Process for 1 more minute. Transfer to prepared bowl, turning dough in bowl to evenly coat. Cover with clean towel and set aside in warm place to rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 475 F (240 C). Lightly oil baking sheet and set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle about 15 x 6 in (38 x 15 cm). Lift onto prepared baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil and scatter with mozzarella. Set aside. In large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Add onion slices and sauté until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat and add a splash of water if they begin to stick and darken too quickly. Transfer to medium bowl and fold in 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh dill, salt, and pepper. Set aside to cool. Pick through arugula or watercress leaves, trimming away stalks. Wash and spin dry. Set leaves aside. In small bowl, combine yogurt, Dijon, and remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh dill. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
Shave asparagus spears lengthwise into long thin strips, discarding tough ends. Place in bowl and drizzle with a splash of oil. Scatter sautéed onions overtop mozzarella on pizza dough, leaving 1/2 in (1.25 cm) border. Pile asparagus strips evenly overtop. Bake pizza in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust edges are deep golden and asparagus is lightly charred. Remove and transfer pizza to wooden serving board. Arrange smoked salmon strips in twists on top and scatter with watercress. Dollop with yogurt and lightly season with additional black pepper, if you wish. Cut into wedges and splash with a little olive oil and lemon juice, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with additional sprigs of fresh dill. Tip: Make your own pizza dough in a flash, or purchase gluten-free flatbread and bake with toppings in oven only until piping hot. Substitute watercress with microgreens or pea shoots. Vegan option: Use dairy-free cheese ingredients and make shaved carrot lox to replace the smoked salmon.
While sablefish’s texture and fat content stand up admirably to the heat of the grill, this firm fish is also delicious poached. For this recipe, sablefish’s luxurious taste is combined with a light fragrant broth of lemongrass and ginger punctuated with the heat of Thai chili. Sustainability status Sablefish, also known as butterfish or black cod, is a rich and satisfying fish, plentiful in omega-3s and sourced sustainably from the Pacific Northwest. Skin and bones Sablefish has large pin bones. Ideally, your fishmonger will remove them, but if not, before you begin, locate them along the fish’s centreline and, using a pair of needle nose pliers, grasp them firmly to remove. You can leave the skin on for this recipe, which may help the fish hold together a little better while cooking, but it can be tricky to peel the skin away from the cooked fish and discard before plating. I opted to remove the skin first and simply keep a close eye on the cooking time, being careful to remove the fish from the poaching liquid before it flakes apart.
These mildly spiced salmon tacos served with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds will bring a party together. Make a small quantity of salmon go further when you pair it with a fresh red cabbage slaw featuring citrus and cilantro. Drizzled with some bright lime yogurt, the flavours come together perfectly. Sustainability status Wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are considered among the most sustainable, as the fishery is subject to limited harvests. With salmon stocks in decline, supporting managed fisheries such as these can help maintain populations into the future. That may also mean eating salmon less often than we do now. Salmon is a favourite Salmon is the most popular variety of fish in Canada and the second most popular in the US.
B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.
The delicate flavour of shrimp is highlighted with just a touch of lemon and a hint of mustard, while radish and celery give some fresh crunch to this dish. Eat it in lettuce cups, on top of greens, or served on whole grain bread for a filling snack. Sustainability status Both wild and farmed shrimp can be sustainable depending on where they’re caught and how they’re raised. See our article “Sea Change” for more information about choosing ethical shrimp.