“This was a surprisingly straightforward and delicious way to warm up on a chilly lakeside outing,” says Cosco. “Polenta requires only a little bit of heat, a 1:4 cornmeal-to-water ratio, and a generous portion of Parmesan to be delicious. I like to add a bit of ‘luxury’ by adding a stock cube and a knob of butter to the boiling water.” His twist on a classic gremolata uses fish-friendly dill and parsley and cuts through the creamy richness of the polenta, itself a counterpoint to the crispy-skinned salmon.
The trick to getting that perfectly crispy skin is to sprinkle fillets with salt as soon as you’ve cleaned them. While you prep the vegetables, the salt removes excess moisture, which you can wipe off with paper towel (to be used as fire-starter) just before searing.
Look for a low-sodium stock cube without preservatives.
For polenta, in medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add stock cube and butter. Whisk in cornmeal and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, covered, stirring every few minutes, depending on how hot the fire is. If polenta starts to stick or burn, reduce heat or add water. Whisk in Parmesan. Season, to taste, and set aside pot.
Meanwhile, for gremolata, in medium bowl, combine lemon juice and zest with garlic, chopped dill, parsley, and pinch of salt.
Over medium-high, heat 12 in (30 cm) cast iron skillet. Be patient; the pan is hot enough when you place a hand above it and feel a fair bit of heat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, still on the vine, and cook until lightly charred but not bursting. Remove tomatoes from pan.
For salmon, add oil to pan. When hot, add salmon, skin side down. Cook until the line of opacity reaches halfway up the side of salmon, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. If the two lines of opacity meet, the fish will be overcooked, so remove them sooner rather than later.
To serve, plate polenta and fish and top with gremolata, and place tomatoes on the vine alongside. Sprinkle with fleur de sel or kosher salt.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this roasted vegetable appetizer platter. High quality ingredients, a variety of textures and colours, fresh herbs, and a flash of lemon make it shine. Not all olive oils and balsamics are created equal Use your good, fruity, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to accompany this appetizer platter, since the quality and flavour will shine through. You can use a more neutral and affordable olive oil for roasting the vegetables, if you prefer. As for the balsamic vinegar, use either an aged one that’s thick and sweet, or reduce a young balsamic in a small saucepan until thick, optionally adding a pinch of sugar to sweeten it (see the oyster mushrooms with caramelized parsnips recipe for helpful directions). A store-bought balsamic glaze that’s already been thickened works as well, but check the ingredients for unwanted preservatives and sweeteners.
Spooned over hearty fall greens such as kale or chard, this delicious side dish can also double as a main meal; its flavours absolutely pop with our zesty herb topping. The beets are packed with amazing nutrients, plus they’re delicious served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Add some crunch This dish is a meal in itself. Scatter toasted pine nuts or pecans overtop for some added crunch.
“One of my favourite stir-fry meals is broccoli beef, so when I found myself with several hundred pounds of Yukon Mountain caribou this past fall, I figured a ’bou backstrap would be an excellent game replacement,” says Cosco. “Paired with a side of rice, this quick game meal is ready to go.” Note to those afraid of cranking the heat: “The pan needs to be ripping hot to give an immediate sear,” says Cosco. Take a deep breath, and go for it. What’s backstrap? Backstrap comes from the caribou’s longissimus dorsi, the muscle that runs along the spine. Beef striploin would be a good substitution for the lean meat, says Cosco. The slices should be cut to the classic length of fajita strips, about 1/2 in (1.25 cm) wide.