Smoked Salmon Potato Blini With Creme Fraiche and Caviar
These canapes are topped with caviar.
1 russet potato
15 ml (1 tbsp) flour
5 ml (1 tsp) creme fraiche plus 100 ml (3 1/2 oz) creme fraiche
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch grated nutmeg
15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped chives
125 g (4 oz) unsliced smoked salmon
30 ml (2 tbsp) whipping cream
15 ml (1 tbsp) unsalted butter
30 g (1 oz) Northern Divine caviar or small amount of salmon roe
1 sprig fresh dill, divided into 8 smaller fronds
Wrap potato in aluminum foil and bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven until soft. Immediately remove skin and discard. Mash potato with a fork or use a potato ricer.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, egg, 5 ml (1 tsp) creme fraiche, salt, pepper and nutmeg into potato. Pass potato mixture through a strainer to remove all lumps. Fold chives into potato mixture. Scoop potato mixture into a piping bag and set aside.
Cut smoked salmon into 8 equal square pieces; set aside.
Whisk 100 ml (3 1/2 oz) creme fraiche with whipping cream until peaks form. Scoop into a separate piping bag and refrigerate.
In a skillet, slowly melt butter on low heat, being careful not to burn it. Gently pipe 8 small dollops of the potato mix (about the size of a toonie) onto the pan. Use your moistened hand to gently flatten potato dollops to form blinis (be careful to avoid burning hand). Cook blinis for 1 minute on each side. Remove blinis from heat and slightly pat dry with a paper towel.
Place a piece of smoked salmon on top of each potato blini. Pipe a small dollop of creme fraiche on top of each piece of smoked salmon.
Spoon a generous amount of caviar on top of creme fraiche (the amount of caviar depends on your preference).
Place a small frond of dill on top of caviar.
Arrange canapes on a serving platter.
Makes 8 servings.
This clam chowder is inspired by Chen's youth on the West Coast of British Columbia.
2 kg (5 lb) littleneck clams
15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
10 ml (2 tsp) chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic
500 ml (2 cups) dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Rinse clams under cold water for 10 minutes. Drain.
In a heavy-bottom pot with a lid, warm oil; sweat shallots and garlic for 2 minutes over low heat. Add white wine, thyme, bay leaf and clams. Cover and steam until shells open.
Drain clams and liquid through a strainer, saving liquid for use in chowder.
Let clams cool for 20 minutes. Remove clams from shells and set aside for use in chowder. Discard shells and shallot mixture.
45 ml (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) oil
60 g (2 oz) salt pork
75 ml (1/3 cup) medium-diced leeks
150 ml (2/3 cup) chopped white onions
75 ml (1/3 cup) medium-diced fennel
75 ml (1/3 cup) medium-diced celery
1 clove garlic, chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped shallots
150 ml (2/3 cup) medium-diced potatoes
20 ml (1 tbsp plus 1 tsp) all-purpose flour
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) clam stock
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
2 kg (5 lb) clams, shells removed (from clam stock recipe)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) fennel pollen
Zest of 1/4 of a lemon
1 sprig fresh dill, chopped
0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) cayenne pepper
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Juice of 1/8 of a lemon
Warm butter and oil in a heavy-bottom pot on medium heat.
Add salt pork, leeks, onions, fennel, celery, garlic, shallots and potatoes. Sweat for 3 minutes.
Add flour and stir for another 30 seconds. Slowly add clam stock. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add cream. Simmer slowly for 15 minutes over low heat.
Stir in clams, thyme leaves, fennel pollen, lemon zest, dill and cayenne.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. Balance flavours with lemon juice.
Makes 4 servings.
Roasted Beef Tenderloin
This roasted beef recipe reflects Chen's cooking style — roasting at a low temperature and allowing meat to rest before serving. He pairs it with a robust Merlot.
4 pieces prime beef tenderloin (250 g/8 oz each)
Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste
15 ml (1 tbsp) oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, quartered
30 ml (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
Let meat sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Heat oven to 100 C (200 F).
Season meat generously with sea salt and pepper.
Using a heavy-bottom cast-iron pan that's ovenproof, heat oil to a light smoking point. Sear meat for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat; add garlic, thyme, shallots and butter to pan and turn meat to cover with mixture. Insert thermometer into meat and place pan in oven.
Baste beef with butter-herb mixture as often as possible during cooking. Bake until desired temperature is reached: 55 C (130 F) for rare, 57 C (135 F) for medium-rare, 60 C (140 F) for medium, 65 C (150 F) for medium well, and 70 C (160 F) for well-done beef.
Let meat rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Finish with touch of sea salt.
Makes 4 servings.