Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nordic Roots: VEGAN "Salmon" with dilled beets


HOLY MOLY! 
VEGAN SALMON!

Pardon my enthusiasm.  

It's been too long since I ate some nice fish. Why? Well it's a no-no on the VEGAN DIET I'm currently on. 

So what's the issue? If I'm vegan I must detest the way fish tastes, right? I must want to eat, live, and breathe only vegetables, no? Sadly, NO.

I am new to veganism but not so new to fish loving. I am of Nordic descent so I think that its in my DNA to love fish or something. I could actually live without almost all fish forever and be happy, but salmon? I have LOVED salmon for my entire life -- in pretty much every form I've ever experienced (raw, poached, smoked, fried, grilled, steamed, cured, mousse, roe). Giving it up was a really big challenge for me but one I'm proud that I made. Salmon are some pretty amazing fish -- they swim up rivers! A sight my husband and I go and enjoy every autumn at Old Mill as they fearlessly leap over waterfalls to return to their place of birth.

This past weekend I was starting to get a little bored with my vegan diet, but rather than give in to my cravings for fish or dairy or meat, I decided I would get as creative as possible in my kitchen and hope for the best. Luckily for me, the best happened. 



Today I am proud to bring you a really elegant vegan entree -- VEGAN Dilled Beets N Salmon. A high protein meal loaded with vegetables, essential fatty acids, fiber, protein and lovely salmon-like flavor and texture. With no salmon harmed! 


I know I know, 'mock meat' can be so disappointing. But this was really great! My husband really enjoyed it too and he still eats REAL fish! The raw and vegan nori I used as "salmon skin" is a MUST in this recipe! It makes the dish look and taste like fish and provides the familiar texture of fish skin to the base of the "salmon". Best part, you can eat it too and I highly recommend that!

Do not skip the sauce! It tastes so much like salmon and absorbs into the various components of the dish to create that almost silky texture that salmon has.

If you don't like beets or dill, feel free to use other flavors and vegetables -- I would try flavors you associate with salmon though. Maybe maple and sweet potatoes or thinly sliced new potatoes and dill. 

The way this dish comes together is by combining seasonings and textures you associate with fish with flavors that you traditionally pair fish with. You want your brain to jump to the next conclusion. 

Smoke + salt + fat + sea veg + dill + lemon + beet = salmon!







PART I: VEGAN Dilled Beets N 'Salmon'
 Beet Marinade

  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 beta carotene capsules
  • 1.5 tbsp kelp flakes
  • 1/4 tsp hickory smoked sea salt (I use "Durango" from Just a Pinch)
  • 2 tbsp sauerkraut brine
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice                           
Add to large bowl and whisk
  • boiling water (about 4 cups)
Add to flax mixture and whisk to incorporate. Leave to gel at room temperature while you peel and slice the beets in the next part of this recipe.

 


PART II: VEGAN Dilled Beets N 'Salmon'
 Beet Slices

  • 4 yellow-orange organic beets, washed, peeled
Wash and peel the beets. Remove the dirty end with a knife and discard. Slice each beet in half from base to tip. Lay each half on its flat side and thinly slice it. Add the thin slices to your liquid mixture. Stir the mixture. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes. In the meantime, make the next part.



PART III: VEGAN Dilled Beets N 'Salmon'

“Fish Base”

  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp kelp flakes
  • 1/4 tsp hickory smoked sea salt (I use "Durango" from Just a Pinch)
  • 1 beta carotene capsule
  • 1/2 cup hot  water
  • 1 tbsp vegenaise
  • squeeze fresh lemon juice
Add to food processor and blend.
  • 1/2 sheet raw vegan nori seaweed
Add the nori and blend to incorporate.



PART IV: VEGAN Dilled Beets N 'Salmon'
Assembly and Cooking

  • 2 sheets raw vegan nori seaweed
  • “Fish Base”
  • “Beet Slices”
  • “Beet Marinade”
Grab a bamboo steamer. Place the two sheets of nori, one on top of the other  smooth side down on the steamer.  Scoop the quinoa flake mixture on the centre of the sheet stack and using a spoon, smooth out to the edges, leaving about 1/2 inch of nori exposed on the outer edges.
Drain the beets into a bowl, reserving the marinade liquid. Add the beet slices closely packed to the top of the nori and paste in parallel rows. Grab a spoon and scoop out small spoonfuls of the kelp and chia seeds from the bottom of the reserved liquid. Drizzle all over the beet slices. Top loosely with the extra half of the nori sheet you used earlier. Cover the steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes over a pot of boiling water.
After the 10 minutes of steaming, remove pot from heat and remove the lid. You can also discard or eat the now shriveled nori on the top. Leave to cool down on stove top.



PART V: VEGAN Dilled Beets N 'Salmon'
 Magic Vegan Salmon Flavor Sauce
  • ¼ cup reserved beet marinade (orange clear liquid only that settles to the top)
  • ½ tsp hickory smoked sea salt
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sira (you could add a splash of white wine instead)
  • 1.5 tbsp vegenaise
  • 1 tsp maca powder
Add the 1/4 cup of marinade (orange clear liquid only that settles to the top). Add to it 1/2 tsp hickory smoked sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add 1 tsp sira and 1.5 tbsp vegenaise and 1 tsp maca powder whisk until smooth. Set aside.



PART VI: VEGAN Dilled Beets N 'Salmon'
Finishing Touches and Final Marinade


  • Fresh dill
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Magic Vegan Salmon Flavor Sauce

    OPTIONAL:Extra hickory smoked sea salt
Thinly slice the onion. Wash and trim the dill (enough to cover the entire surface of the salmon. Thinly slice half a small lemon, discard any seeds.
Grab a buddy, husband anyone and two spatulas. Carefully lift the salmon off the steamer tray and transfer to the most flat plate you own.
Drizzle with 1/2 the Magic Vegan Salmon Flavor Sauce. Top with the capers evenly, followed by the lemon slices, red onion and fresh dill.
Drizzle the remaining Flavor Sauce over the top. Add a large pinch of the hickory smoked salt over all of it evenly. Wrap the plate in two sheets of parchment and store in the freezer for 20 minutes, then move to the fridge or serve after letting it sit out a few minutes.