A few weeks back, I attended the Saltscapes Expo, which showcased the beauty, attractions, products, and food of the Eastern provinces, particularly New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
I had the opportunity to get up on stage (eep!) and help out with the Black Box Challenge, where two chefs each received a black box containing three “secret” ingredients that they had to incorporate into their dish. I was paired with a local chef, Chef Geoff Hopgood of Hopgood’s Foodliner, who is a Nova Scotia native and whose restaurant features contemporary East Coast comfort food.
Both boxes contained East coast products—diver scallops, Coulis Divin maple butter from New Brunswick, and dried cranberries from Terra Beata Farms in Nova Scotia. Quickly, Chef Hopgood came up with a game play and I went to work helping him put the dish together. Twenty minutes later, we had a beautiful dish in front of us—maple butter-glazed seared scallops with a shaved fennel and cranberry slaw. Chef Hopgood added some finely chopped bacon to the glaze to add some saltiness to the glaze, while the fennel was dressed with some olive oil and lemon juice. So simple, yet so beautiful, allowing each ingredient to shine.
Inspired by the dish Chef Hopgood created at the Saltscapes Expo, this dish practically spans the whole of Canada—British Columbia (Pacific sockeye salmon), the east coast (the maple butter), and Ontario (beet greens and pea shoots from a local farm). The fish was pan-seared in a smoking hot pan with some salt and pepper to quick a crispy, golden-brown crust. The glaze was made with shallots, a little white wine to deglaze the pan, maple butter, and Dijon mustard (or use whole-grain mustard if you want some texture in the glaze). The fish was served with some simple beet greens, and garnished with some pea shoots. Quick and delicious dish and that is sure to please the whole table!