<b>FOOD FINDS | </b>By Deanna Duff For the Weekly Herald
Dinner can be gourmet and gluten-free without sacrificing your favorite dishes. Forgoing gluten – a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley – can be a health necessity or diet preference, but it doesn’t mean giving up taste. Chef Matthew Steffen, of the Beach Café at Kirkland’s Woodmark Hotel, recently expanded the menu’s gluten-free options and shares a grilled salmon recipe for at-home cooks.
“I love grilling and cooking salmon in the summer just because it’s such a signature Northwest product, and it holds up really well on the grill,” says Steffen, who specifically recommends fresh, king salmon and pairing it with a crisp, white wine. “The key to success with this recipe is proper seasoning, super-fresh salmon and the right company. Bon appétit!”
8-ounce salmon portion, preferably fresh king salmon
2 cups wild rice
½ cup Pumpkin Seed Pesto (recipe below)
1 ounce favorite herbs, chopped (Chef Steffen prefers cilantro and tarragon)
4 servings seasonal vegetables
8 ounces Creamed Corn Sauce (recipe below)
2 ounces Meyer lemon oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
10 sprigs fresh cilantro
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon (juice and zest)
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¾ cup canola oil
Pesto Preparation: Place all ingredients in a blender and purée. Season with salt and pepper.
Creamed Corn Sauce
1 peeled shallot
1 peeled garlic clove
1 ounce fresh thyme
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups fresh shucked corn kernels
¼ pound butter
Creamed Corn Sauce Preparation:
1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, sauté the shallots and garlic in a little olive oil. After they are caramelized, deglaze with the white wine and add the thyme.
2. After it reduces by half, add the heavy cream and half the corn.
3. Reduce by half. Puree. Whisk in butter and the remaining corn kernels. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Wild Rice Preparation:
Once you’ve made the sauces, cook as much wild rice as needed. Chef Steffen advises buying rice from a store such as PCC Natural Markets or Whole Foods where you can purchase in bulk and find what works best for you. After the rice is cooked off, fold in some pesto, checking it frequently for taste.
Assembling the dish:
After the sauces and rice are made, prepare the grill. Cook salmon to about medium or your desired temperature. Season with a little salt or pepper to get the true taste of the salmon. While the salmon is cooking, begin preparing your favorite green veggies. Chef Steffen likes asparagus or pea tendrils, depending on the season. Mix the pesto with the rice until hot. Make sure the creamed corn sauce is hot and ready.
To plate, layer vegetables over a scoop of rice mixture. Place about 2 ounces of sauce on the plate, laying the salmon on the rice. Garnish with lemon oil and freshly chopped herbs.