Had a Glass...and Snacks

We drank up the wine guys, Kenji Hodgson and James Nevison, when they visited Books to Cooks for the celebration of their latest wine guide Had a Glass: Top 100 Wines for 2009 Under $20. While guests sipped a selection of deliciously affordable grapes, Chef Glenys served up a Smoky White Bean Spread, Chermoula Rubbed Prawns, Smoked Trout Mousse and Lamb and Rosemary Sausage.

Smoky White Bean Spread from Chef Glenys Morgan

The degree of smoky flavour in this simple dip depends on how many layers of smoked ingredients are in the mix. Traditionally, the beans would be cooked with a ham hock or bacon, but canned beans need doctoring.

1 cup finely diced onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
smoked sea salt
1-28 oz can cannellini, kidney or white beans, drain and reserve the liquid
1 head garlic, roasted
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary

Heat the onion, olive and sugar on high heat, then reduce to medium. Season with a pinch of salt. Cover and reduce the heat; cook until soft and nicely coloured. In the food processor, combine the onions, drained beans, cheese, roasted garlic, paprika and rosemary. Puree the mixture until smooth; add the reserved liquid and pulse. If the puree is too thick, add a little hot water to loosen. Taste for salt and season to taste. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

Chermoula Rubbed Prawns

Chermoula is a mixture of fresh ingredients, olive oil and spices and the variations are endless. It is used as a dip, a marinade, a dressing or is cooked into a dish as the seasoning.

1 1/2 lb. prawns, shelled and deveined with tails attached
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 fresh green chile, finely chopped
handful of chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
lemon wedges to serve

Combine the chermoula ingredients; skewer the prawns if desired or use a grill plate or vegetable tray for cooking. Marinate the prawns for one hour or if desired, prepare up to a day in advance without the lemon juice. Add the lemon juice to the marinade close to the grilling time; this keeps the acid from drying out the prawns. Roast in 425 F oven until pink or grill over a hot fire until pink, basting with the remaining chermoula. Season again with salt and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Smoked Trout Mousse

Smoked trout fillets are availabe at Granville Island. I purchase mine at Seafood City and keep packages frozen for this spread. The cryovac package will thaw in just a few minutes.

1/2 lb. smoked trout (or salmon or lox)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup clarified or melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
minced fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

In the bowl of the food processor, combine the trout and lemon juice, running the motor until the salmon is broken down and the natural gelatinous quality of the fish is created a glossy paste. Add the clarified butter. When incorporated, add the sour cream and dill. Season with salt and pepper after tasting. Scrape the bowl down and pack into terrines. The pate will seem soft, but the butter and cream will bring it back to a texture of spreadable butter once chilled. Serve with rye bread or croustades.

Lamb and Rosemary Sausage

The sausages are a product of Hills Foods in Port Coquitlam. They provide specialty meat and poultry to chefs and food stores. Similar product available at Oyama Sausage in Granville Island.