The Tomato

August 5 2016

a sustainable seafood fest at sabor

Sabor kicked off their annual seafood fest with special guests Ocean Wise coordinator Claire Li Loong and chef Jan Hanson from Calgary’s Hotel Arts.

Ocean Wise is a conservation program created by the Vancouver Aquarium. The goal? Help seafood and fish lovers make good choices based on sustainability. An Ocean Wise recommended species is abundant, well managed and harvested in a method that reduces bycatch and damage to habitat.

One of the best reasons to visit Sabor during the Seafood Fest is to taste some less familiar dishes. Try the elegant scallop and limpet ceviche, spicy and crispy piri piri cod cakes, sardines escalivada with grilled vegetables, tender sablefish in a luscious lobster saffron broth and everybody’s favourite, gambas al ajillo, whole prawns redolent of garlic and wine.

The general revelry of the evening underscored the dinner’s more serious purpose—to inform diners about Ocean Wise efforts to create healthy fish populations in our oceans through our power as consumers. A list on the Ocean Wise web site shows us what to buy — look for the Ocean Wise symbol on the left.

Enjoy chef Lino Olivera’s full-throttle flavours inspired by coastal Portugal from August 5 to September 3. Sabor, 10220 103 Street, 780-757-1114,

Sabor chef Lino Olivera preps sardines

Sabor chef Lino Olivera preps sardines

pie season

Follow this link to Giselle Courteau’s (Duchess Bake Shop) tutorial on pie and her best-ever Saskatoon pie recipe:

canadian food champs

Shannon Minor is the executive sous chef at El Cortez and the Canadian Food championship’s sandwich category winner. Shannon is a NAIT culinary graduate, has been cooking (for fun) since she was 16 and spent a year and a half behind the line in Sydney, Australia at St Jude’s Café. “Such amazing produce and out of this world seafood, so fresh. I learned to let the ingredients shine.” She also learned to season. “Aussies love their seasoning.”

“I learned a lot from Lindsay (Lindsay Porter, exec chef at el Cortez and a winner in the steak category this year.) I was her sous in the championships last year; she was cool as a cucumber.

“When I was making the recipe in my head I thought, ‘what do I like in a sandwich?’ and I went from there,” says Shannon. “I like really nice salami, a fried egg, and a delicious bread. Then I took Lindsay’s advice; ‘take your idea and amplify it.’

“Lindsay had leftover bacon bread pudding so we made bacon bread pudding biscuits. That’s what I love about working with Lindsay. We bounce ideas off each other and always end up making something great.”

Shannon’s winning sandwich was brown sugar and tomato pork loin with fennel salami, parmesan crisp, a sunny side egg with citrus aiol and grilled pears on a maple-smoked cheddar and thyme biscuit. The reduced liquid from the pork became a sweet jam.

“I took the biscuit idea to my sister who is a baker. She makes the best biscuits and the maple-smoked cheddar was perfect for a biscuit.”

I’ll say.

Shannon’s winning sandwich

Shannon’s winning sandwich

Russell and Jocelyn Bird of Sherwood Park make competing a family affair. Working with Jocelyn’s dad as his sous chef, Russell took first prize in the bacon category. Jocelyn handily topped the dessert category with a rosewater and lavender macaron with blackberries.

“ In the bacon finals we had to use dark chocolate,” says Russell. “I did a mole sauce and served it with deep-fried yam gnocchi, bacon-wrapped shrimp and tempura jalepeno. It was pretty awesome. I was able to go from third to first this year due to my experience at world’s last year,” says Russell. “I could manage my time better.”

Any ideas on cooking professionally? “No,” says Russell.

“I really like my evenings and weekends.”

Russell’s secret to winning? “Judges like deep-fried things.”

The Birds join chefs Shannon Minor and Lindsay Porter at the World Food Championships in Orange, Alabama this November.

Russell and Jocelyn Bird of Sherwood Park

Russell and Jocelyn Bird of Sherwood Park

Russell Bird’s Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp in Mole Sauce

Mole Sauce

Dice onion and fry with 2 tbsp olive oil until soft. Dice garlic and add to onions and fry for about 2 minutes. In blender add 3corn tortillas and 2 cups chicken stock, blend.

Dice chipotle peppers and add to blender, add peanut butter, oregano, onion and garlic and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and pour into saucepan.

Simmer for 10 minutes on low. Add dark and milk chocolate and combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.


Peel yams and slice, boil in water until al dente. Place in stand mixer with flour, baking soda and egg to make gnocchi dough. Mix until firm. Roll dough into tubes and slice into gnocchi. Deep fry gnocchi in 350° canola oil for 6 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside.

Wrap bacon around shrimp, secure with toothpick. Season with Frank’s Red Hot Seasoning. Deep fry shrimp in 350° canola oil for 4 minutes. Remove from oil and toss in additional Frank’s Seasoning and melted butter.

Make tempura batter by mixing white flour, baking soda and egg with water in a bowl. The bowl should be placed in an ice bath to keep it as cold as possible. Slice jalapeno pepper to remove stem and seeds, run under cold water to remove hot oils. Dip jalapeno in batter mixture and then immediately to deep fryer in 350° canola oil for 4 minutes.

To serve: Place mole sauce in bowl, place gnocchi in mole sauce, place bacon wrapped shrimp on top of gnocchi and then place tempura jalapeno on top of the shrimp and sprinkle with tempura bits to finish. Serves 4-6 with lots of sauce.

Serve with a shot of Fireball.

Russell Bird’s Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp in Mole Sauce

Russell Bird’s Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp in Mole Sauce

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