With the Olympics now in full swing I thought that I would show some Canadian pride by sharing a Canadian inspired meal. I'm also celebrating the fact that Canada is no longer tied with North Korea in the medal standings (as of this posting)! We may not do so well in the summer games but, heaven forbid, our hockey team fails to win gold in the winter games!
Canada is a strange country when it comes to cuisine. We are such a melting pot that we are hard pressed to come up with traditional Canadian food. I think that former Prime Minister Joe Clark once said it best. "Canada has a cuisine of cuisines. Not a stew pot, but a smorgasbord."
Have you ever seen a Canadian food restaurant? There are restaurants specializing in Chinese food, Thai food, French food, Italian, American, Mexican, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. Just about any nationality that you can think of but not Canadian.
Canada is known for Maple Syrup, Poutine (french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy) and Canadian Bacon (which we call Back Bacon). Not much to run a restaurant out of!
Today I tried to come up with a Canadian inspired meal. I'm going to give you a couple of simple recipes that can be made in well under half an hour - Maple Glazed Salmon with a Blueberry Salsa.
2 pints of blueberries1 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 handful of cilantro or coriander, finely chopped
the zest and juice of one lime
Wash all your fruit and vegetables. Pour the blueberries into a bowl. Add your chopped pepper, finely diced red onion and very finely diced jalapeno. This is still a very mild salsa with just one jalapeno since I removed the seeds. Most of the heat is in the seeds. You could leave the seeds in or use more than one jalapeno pepper if you like it a little spicier.
Add the cilantro, the zest and juice of one lime and a pinch of salt.
Stir until combined. Allow this to sit for at least a half an hour before serving to allow the flavours to blend. This salsa can now be served with tortilla chips for a healthier alternative to heavy, sour cream-laden dips. Also, try it with mangoes instead of blueberries or a combination of blueberries, mangoes and pineapple. I stuck with Ontario blueberries for this recipe (mangoes and pineapple are not really Canadian fruit).
Maple Glazed Salmon
salt + pepper
I picked up this lovely salmon fillet at the grocery store. Since there are only 3 of us eating, I cut it in half. I froze the other half for another day.
Coat both side of the salmon fillet with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
Place salmon on a very hot grill and cook until 3/4 of the way done (about 4 minutes). Tip - do not run out of propane!
However, if you do run out of propane, like I did, you can finish the salmon in a frying pan. You can actually fry it in olive oil on the stove but it tastes so much better on the grill. The best way of preparing salmon is over a charcoal grill but I just didn't have that kind of time to devote to dinner that night.
Pour 1/4 cup of maple syrup into a small bowl.
Brush the top of the salmon with the maple syrup as the bottom cooks. Two more minutes on the bottom cooking should be lots. A fresh salmon fillet should be cooked in under 10 minutes if you are grilling it or frying it on a hot stove.
I served my Maple Glazed Salmon and Blueberry Salsa with some simple, roasted PEI potatoes (just a little butter, olive oil, salt and pepper).
This is my version of a Canadian meal in honour of the Olympics. What has totally astounded me lately is that I seem to be getting readers from many other countries! It is amazing how small the internet makes the world! Actually, I'm astounded to discover that anyone has read this blog. So it makes me wonder, if you are reading this from somewhere other than Canada, what is a traditional meal that would be served in your country? Actually, since there is very little Canadian cuisine, even if you are reading this in Canada, what else would you say is a traditional Canadian meal? Let's all drool together as we cheer on our athletes in the 2012 Summer Games!