27 July 2010

Cuisine du Terroir Challenge Meets Sockeye Salmon Wrapped in Vine Leaves with Wine Jus

Sockeye Salmon Wrapped in Vine Leaves with Wine Jus

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my cooking adventures. Even every day food should be an adventure either with new ideas, or experimenting with a new cuisine. Every day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means making use of a wonderful find at our local farmers market for our favourite comfort foods.

 As my third personal challenge I am creating a menu from appetizer to dessert that highlights British Columbian cuisine, and ultimately local Okanagan cuisine, and even sharing a few recipes by local chefs and wineries. My Cuisine du Terroir Challenge reflects what our local producers and farmers have to offer.

The most direct translation of the concept of terrior is “food of the earth”. Terroir is a French term used to describe the unique flavour imparted to food or drink by a region’s specific climate, soil, weather and growing conditions. Cuisine du terroir, covers regional specialities with a strong focus on quality local produce. I chose “Cuisine du Terroir” as the concept  for my next challenge because to me it means food with a strong sense of place. It has been 15 years since we moved across the country from the province of Ontario to live here in the Okanagan Valley in what they refer to as "God's Country. I can't envision anywhere else as my home. I have the cascading vineyards and orchards, turquoise lakes and majestic mountains running through my veins.

To start this challenge off I offered my own version of Lamb Sliders with Lemon-Mint Sauce for my Cuisine du Terroir menu.  A flavourful salad course came next with Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette !!! This salad was a reminder of how fleeting  the seasons are.

For my next dish we highlight the vivid red Sockeye salmon of British Columbia. I was inspired to use some local landlocked Kokanee salmon but I am aware it is not a fish that can be purchased in a grocery store. I would have needed to take rod and reel in hand and head to Wood Lake where their numbers are still such that you are able to take them home. In Okanagan Lake they are "catch and release" due to their endangered species status. No matter what kind of fish you use this recipe is simple, elegant and unique reflecting the flavours of the Okanagan!

 Rollingdale Vineyard on the west side was very accommodating as the supplier of the grape leaves for my dish. After trying to source fresh grape leaves for months now I decided to call one of the local organic wineries . The vineyard manager took me out into the vineyard and picked grape leaves for me as we discussed becoming a sommelier, volunteering during ice wine season, and grape varietals. Rollingdale are the producers of a local award winning ice wine which features in dessert for this Cuisine du Terroir challenge I will feature later. So stay tuned. (If you are not near a vineyard, a Mediterranean grocer should have vine leaves in a jar, but remember to soak them to remove some of the salty, brine flavour). I used some of our local wines as well as ingredients from an early morning visit to our local farmers market to present this dish.

 This recipe itself comes from local chef Martin Laprise of Chef in Stead  who offers cooking classes as well as catering and personal chef services. I served the salmon with some local grilled corn and a side dish using local fingerlings that I will post next time around. This is the first time I have prepared this dish and it will not be the last. I will know for next time that for aesthetics and taking photos for the blog to put salmon skin side up when rolling the pieces up in the grape leaves (which are totally edible). Ultimately skin side up becomes skin side down when baking. 

**Sockeye Salmon Wrapped in Vine Leaves with Wine Jus**

800 g Sockeye salmon, 200 g of salmon per person should be just right
12-15 large vine leaves, 3 per person
12 tablespoons sour cream or ricotta cheese
fresh dill
3 Spring onions
salt and pepper
1 cup local white wine
1/4 cup butter

Cook the leaves in a large amount of salted water for 2-3 minutes, and cool them in cold water.

Cut your salmon into 3 small pieces per person, and place each one in the middle of a vine leaf.

For each piece of salmon, add a tablespoon of sour cream or ricotta cheese, a pinch of tarragon, a touch of sliced green onions, and salt and pepper.

Wrap the salmon in the leaf, folding in the edges to avoid leaks.

Deposit your salmon parcels in a baking dish. Add white wine, butter, green onions, salt and pepper. Cover with foil paper and bake in the oven at 350F for 12 minutes. It can be served with the jus left in your pan.

**Summer option: Grill on the barbecue at medium heat until you read 135F on your instant read thermometer and serve with a salad vinaigrette.

Serve 4 people

Serve to applause and enjoy!!

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  1. What a beautiful presentation! Salmon is one of my favorite fishes (?) to cook at home. And I love your philosophy about every day being an adventure.

  2. This is almost like salmon en papillote but with grape leaves instead of parchment! I love it....they probably give some nice added flavor. Sockeye salmon is a favorite of mine. First I need to find some grape leaves, and then I will definitely be trying this!

  3. Oh this one is a beautiful dish, I love everything about it, the salmon wrapped in vine leaves, and the jus...and the whole composition. What a beautiful scenery you have there.

  4. That is a fantastic way of preparing salmon!



  5. Geez, Val you never seem to amaze me. You do take time to make the best of your ingredients!!

  6. Living where I do, salmon, because of its availability, is one of our favorite meals. This looks better than wonderful. I can imagine the flavor boost the grape leaves give to the taste of this dish. You are really innovative. Kudos. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. I'm not a salmon person, but my mom looks forward to it everytime we head up your way!

  8. Oh Val, this is WONDERFUL!! :-) Salmon is so West Coast to me, and your preparation is marvelous. :-)

  9. I love this Vall, beautiful pics! xxgloria

  10. Val, I will be making this VERY soon- this looks spectacular! Oh, I can't wait!
    xoxo Pattie

  11. i'm always so intrigued by the use of leaves to wrap food--it sure delivers in presentation and usually in flavor-retention too. :)

  12. I like the idea of enclosing the salmon with sour cream ricotta. I'm sure it keeps it moist and perhaps renders out to a little sauce (?). Nice job.

  13. Nice adaptation with the salmon, I've done this with Mediterranean fish but this is totally local for you with the salmon and grape leaves.h

  14. Your Cuisine du Terroir Challenge is such fun, Val!!
    But I think you may have outdone yourself with this salmon en grape leaves. Oh my. It looks delicious. I've done fish in parchment, but think this is way better and I love the presentation.

  15. Val...very interesting way to 'papillote' with vine leaves. My 'Nonna' in Italy used to cook often this way. I, on the other hand have never experienced it.
    Sockeye wild salmon is the only kind I enjoy. Yes, I'm a little finicky that way ;o)

    BTW...I just read your comment on my last post...Let me know what you find out about the water temperatures in your area...I'm curious to put my fish monger to the test ;o)

    Great flavourul recipe...thanks.

    Have a great day,

  16. This sounds so elegant Val.. I bet dinner guests would love this. I have never used grape leaves to cook with.. I have thought about it but have never tried it before. I have had recipes with them incorporated into it but there always seemed to be a briny taste I wasn't thrilled about. But now I'm thinking it was probably the other components in the dish. We recently were at a vineyard restaurant in our community and they use the grape vines and stalks in the pizza oven to grill the pizza's.. I thought what a great idea for infusing aroma.

    Beautiful post!! :)

  17. I can only say that my passport is up to date. Please send me your address. I'll clean up the kitchen!!


  18. If you're going to cook fish wrapped in something, it may as well be edible! I just picked a bunch of grape leaves for brining, and have some salmon - this might make it to my To-Do list.

  19. Every time I come by here you have something beautiful to eat! What a lovely salmon dish! I've never had anything like it.

  20. What a lovely way to prepare salmon! It looks so elegant and delicious.

  21. Stunning dish and so beautifully presented...


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