Food Dude

This week we wel­come new colum­nist Terry Bursey – The Food Dude - writ­ing about all things food.

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - Terry Bursey

“Terry, make me the salmon burger thing again for sup­per!” she or­dered, with a flour­ish. “As you say, m’lady,” I replied. It was a crisp au­tumn day in a year when I was go­ing through a strange phase. I was be­gin­ning to feel guilty for eat­ing or cook­ing any meat aside from fish.

When a recipe called for ground beef or chicken I would of­ten find my­self scratch­ing that part out and writ­ing ‘tuna’ or ‘tofu’ in its place.

Liv­ing in St. John’s at the time en­sured that I had am­ple ac­cess to both of those in­gre­di­ents and like­wise I wouldn’t face the same cu­ri­ous or of­ten mock­ing looks I’d get from my fel­low bay­men if I turned down a per­fectly grilled rare steak or a slab of moose roast in favour of a tray of sushi.

I loved meat, of course and as a large young man in his prime who lifted weights three hours a day I needed a lot of pro­tein.

A few fit­ness ar­ti­cles I had read were prais­ing the use of fish for pro­tein in place of red meats, hail­ing it as the lean­est and most ef­fi­cient way to feed your tired mus­cles the nu­tri­ents they needed to grow.

Celebri­ties like Dwayne (The Rock) John­son and Mark Whal­burg were eat­ing an ex­cess of five pounds of cod a day to get their buff re­sults. Still...I craved red meat al­most con­stantly.

It was dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly irk­some crav­ing for a juicy burger that I started try­ing to brain­storm ways of sat­is­fy­ing my­self with­out the guilt of eat­ing a fel­low mam­mal.

Al­most im­me­di­ately the thought of a nice, pink chunk of bar­be­cued salmon came to mind as a po­ten­tially de­li­cious sub­sti­tute for a beef or moose patty.

That evening I in­vited a friend of mine over to have sup­per with me. Aside from our love of food and sense of hu­mour we had lit­tle in com­mon. She was a typ­i­cal bay­girl, through and through. Her days from early child­hood into her early twen­ties were spent hunt­ing, fish­ing, quad­ding and hik­ing through the harsh and beau­ti­ful New­found­land coun­try­side. My child­hood was mostly spent with my nose in a book and the thought of killing peace­ful wood­land an­i­mals ap­pealed much less to me than killing fi­nal bosses in video games.

Still, we were more than great friends de­spite our dif­fer­ences. We fo­cused more on mak­ing each other laugh and eat­ing great food to­gether than we did about her love for slay­ing an­i­mals and my love for slay­ing vir­tual dragons.

This night I wanted to put my idea for a salmon burger to the test by hav­ing my bru­tally hon­est friend cri­tique it. The fol­low­ing recipe is for what she came to call...

The Salmon Burger Thing In­gre­di­ents

2 bun-sized cuts of salmon, bones re­moved.

(For the mari­nade) 3/4 cup of le­mon juice

1 tbsp dried dill (2 tbsp for fresh)

1/4 cup of real maple syrup

2 pinches each of salt and pep­per

(For the burger sauce)

1/2 cup of real mayo

2 tbsp of green rel­ish

1 tsp of orig­i­nal BBQ sauce (Top­pings/Bun)

Let­tuce

Tomato

1/4 cup shred­ded moz­zarella cheese

Kaiser bun

Note: While any top­pings or buns usu­ally go very well with this sand­wich, I rec­om­mend us­ing only the above in­gre­di­ents.

Di­rec­tions

Stab salmon pieces with a fork 6 to 8 times on both sides and let stand in your mari­nade, flip­ping af­ter ten min­utes for an ad­di­tional five min­utes.

Let the salmon cook on the bar­be­cue for roughly five min­utes on both sides, or un­til the salmon be­gins to crisp on the sur­face. Note that thicker salmon cuts could take longer to cook; when in doubt with th­ese thick cuts, mi­crowave for 45 sec­onds on high or stan­dard set­tings to cook it the rest of the way through af­ter the skin be­gins to crisp nicely.

Brush­ing the salmon with the mari­nade as it cooks is also a won­der­ful way to re­ally coat it in flavour and keep the skin from char­ring.

When the salmon is half­way done, top it with the shred­ded moz­zarella cheese en­sur­ing that it melts deca­dently over the salmon by the time it’s ready for the bun.

While our salmon is cook­ing, it’s a great time to also toast the buns and pre­pare the burger sauce.

In a bowl, blend all sauce in­gre­di­ents un­til smooth and spread them evenly onto each side of the bun. Adding the cooked salmon then to the bot­tom bun, and the tomato and let­tuce to the top bun com­pletes this amaz­ing BBQ treat once both halfs are placed to­gether.

Tip: In­sert­ing a steak knife or long skewer down through the top of the burger is a per­fect way to hold it all in place for pre­sen­ta­tion.

When I pre­sented the glo­ri­ous com­pleted salmon burger to Jes­sica with a side of hand cut sweet po­tato fries and a half-cob of but­tered corn, she was de­lighted but im­me­di­ately asked in typ­i­cal fash­ion what was in it.

She seemed ex­cited at all the in­gre­di­ents as I breath­lessly listed them, al­beit a bit skep­ti­cal about the use of maple, un­der­stand­ably.

We both mowed into our burg­ers ravenously and at some point dur­ing the meal I glanced up to see that she was shar­ing a pic­ture of it to so­cial me­dia. Al­ways a good sign.

When our plates were cleared and she of­fered to do the dishes I pretty much knew she thor­oughly en­joyed the meal. Jes­sica hated do­ing dishes even more than I did and was usu­ally the type to avoid it at all costs. Sorry, Jess.

“Terry, me buddy,” she said. “Next time you come over the house I’m cook­ing you some of Fad­der’s moose burg­ers if you wants a good meal.”

She did. I ate them. They were de­li­cious. I’ve been eat­ing meat with aban­don ever since but (thank­fully) I still don’t feel the need to go out in the woods and hunt it down. That’s Jes­sica’s job.

Happy grilling!

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