Pickled spring vegetables from Top Chef Canada’s Mijune Pak
Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared recipes from four of the five Top Chef Canada judges. Head Judge Mark McEwan made Charred Octopus and Chickpea Salad. Host Chef Eden Grinshpan gave use Sugar Snap Peas and Mint Salad. Food writer Chris Nuttall-Smith shared his Farinata story. And powerhouse restauranteur Janet Zuccarini gave us Cavolo Nero Kale Salad. Last (but definitely not least) is this lightly pickled spring vegetable dish with wasabi and ginger cream from resident judge Mijune Pak.
Creator of Follow Me Foodie, Mijune Pak is an international food personality who advocates for culinary tourism and loves to educate foodies around the world. Her following on Social Media increases daily as her expertise as a culinary adventurer gains recognition around the world. The Sunday Times once named her one of the world’s “Most Extreme Foodies.” Pak curates and hots culinary and lifestyle events, and is a public speaker, collaborator and spokesperson. This year, she branched out into product creation with her limited edition chocolate bars and she’s hoping to expand her food line in the future.
Try out Pak’s spring-inspired dish this weekend and tune in to the next episode of Top Chef Canada on Monday.
Lightly pickled spring veg with wasabi and ginger cream
It’s important not to overcook the vegetables, or to pickle them for too long, or they will discolour. You want them all roughly the same size, so they take the same amount of time to cook: if the asparagus is very thick, cut it lengthways down the middle; if the carrots are tiny, leave them whole. If you’re lucky enough to get carrots and radishes with their leaves attached, just trim the stalks to 2cm long: that will give the dish a lovely rustic look. Serves six.
300g asparagus, woody ends trimmed and discarded
2 small courgettes, cut lengthways into 4- to 5mm-thick slices
1 small fennel bulb, cut lengthways into 2mm-thick slices (reserve any fronds)
100g baby carrots, trimmed and cut in half lengthways (or left whole if very small)
100g red and purple radishes (cut in half if large)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
10g tarragon leaves
60g fresh peas (or frozen and defrosted)
5g pea shoots (or watercress)
1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or half that amount of regular chilli flakes)
For ginger and mustard cream
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp wasabi paste
Heat the oven to its highest setting (250C). Put the asparagus, courgettes, fennel, carrots and radishes in a large bowl with the oil, garlic, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well, then arrange on two large oven trays lined with baking paper, making sure the trays aren’t overcrowded. Roast for eight to 12 minutes, until starting to brown and just cooked (the vegetables should still be crunchy) then transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and sugar with a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour the liquid over the roast veg and add the tarragon. Toss to combine and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
For the ginger and wasabi cream, finely grate the ginger into a bowl, then squeeze the flesh through a fine sieve, collecting all the juice (you should get about a tablespoon and a half). Discard the fibrous flesh and stir the juice into the cheese with the lemon juice, wasabi and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.
Divide the cream between six small plates or one large platter, spreading it out into a 0.5cm-thick layer. Divide the vegetables between the plates, arranging them randomly over the cream, dot with the peas, pea shoots and any fennel fronds, and finish with a sprinkling of chilli.
Pair with Lemon Ginger Kombucha
I like to pair this dish to PURE’s Lemon Ginger Kombucha. It’s a crisp and spicy cold pressed drink. The ginger naturally aids digestion while lemon juice restores vitamin reserves and balances your body’s pH.
Top Chef Canada season eight airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. This season’s winner will be crowned Top Chef and receive a grand prize of $100,000 provided by Interac Corp., a 2020 Lexus RX Self-Charging Hybrid Electric SUV, and an eight-night guided tour of Italy for two courtesy of Air Transat.
Visit foodnetwork.ca for an inside scoop on the upcoming season including full cast bios, competitor predictions, videos, image galleries and more. Check back week-to-week for recaps of each episode’s best moments, a closer look at the winning dish of the week, tips from the guest judges and more.