Canadian Cheese stars in a Seafood-based Mac n’ Cheese
We’ve always got some sort of Canadian Cheese in our refrigerator and pasta is never complete without a grating of a little extra atop.
Last week four top chefs and foodies from across Canada took to the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate comfort food using Canadian cheese, pasta and a little imagination.
Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, today emerged victorious in one of Canada’s highest profile culinary comfort food battles, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off.
With Mac & Cheese again as its theme, the biannual showdown took place at DFC’s Canadian Cheese Counter at the Toronto Food & Drink Market.
From BC Chef Thompson Tran from The Wooden Boat, in Port Moody, BC represented our province with the Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese and we recreated it at home and suggest you do the same.
British Columbia is well-known for its abundance of fresh sustainable seafood and quality hand-crafted products. Tran combined the bold, elegant and earthy flavours of smoked fish with the unctuous, sharp salty characteristics found in some of my favourite Canadian cheeses.
Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 16 minutes
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
½ lb (250 g) gemeli pasta
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
¼ cup (50 mL) fish stock
1 cup (250 mL) milk
¾ cup (175 mL) 18% table cream
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, divided
Grated zest of 1 lemon, divided
4 to 6 drops truffle oil
2 slices sourdough bread, cut in ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
1½ tbsp (22 mL) all-purpose flour
1¼ cup (300 mL) shredded Canadian Emmental cheese, divided
¾ cup (175 mL) shredded Canadian 4-year-old Cheddar cheese, divided
2/3 cup (150 mL) 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubed smoked BC black cod or any smoked mild white fish
½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped cabbage
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely sliced, de-seeded serrano chili pepper or to taste
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter an 8 or 9-inch (20 to 23 cm) square oven-proof baking dish.
In large pot of boiling, salted water cook pasta according to package directions, about 7 minutes. Drain half of the pasta in colander, rinse in cool water and drain; combine with remaining unrinsed pasta. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in small skillet, combine wine and fish stock; cook on high heat until half of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in milk and cream. Set aside.
In small skillet, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter over medium heat. Add half of the lemon zest, truffle oil and bread cubes, sauté until bread is light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
In large pot, melt remaining butter over medium heat, until frothy. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved milk mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes or until thickened, whisking occasionally.
Remove from heat; stir in ¾ cup (175 mL) of Emmental cheese and ½ cup (125 mL) of Cheddar cheese. Add drained pasta, smoked cod, cabbage, serrano chili pepper, and remaining lemon zest. Pour into prepared dish. Top with bread cubes, remaining Emmental and Cheddar cheeses. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with tarragon and a very light squeeze of lemon.
We poured ourselves a nice glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc!