Canadian cuisine is a reflection of the country's richly diverse population and the focus of a series of cooking classes offered by the Dirty Apron Cooking School in Vancouver.

The menu will go above and beyond the quintessential maple syrup and back bacon staples to include cured salmon, venison and the ubiquitous coastal dessert, the Nanaimo bar. 

"This is as Canadian as it gets," chef David Robertson told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's Our Vancouver.

Salmon Gravlax

Gravlax is a Nordic cured salmon dish with a dill flavour. (CBC)

Gravlax, a Nordic cured salmon dish is a great way to preserve salmon, said Robertson. 

It's defined by its characteristic dill flavour, though variations of the dish include star anise, coriander, gin and vodka in the recipe. 

It takes about two days to prepare the fish while it sits curing in the fridge before it's sliced thinly and served much like smoked salmon. 

Robertson also likes to work with venison meat, but cautions against overcooking it because it takes on an unappetizing flavour.

"I love game but we need to make sure we don't overcook it because it's best when it's rare to medium rare," he said.

One way to enjoy a venison loin cooked medium rare is as a plate of carpaccio. 

Venison carpaccio with apple cider aioli and black pepper croutons

Venison

Venison carpaccio should be sliced as thinly as possible for the best possible texture and flavour. (CBC)

Apple cider aioli ingredients

  • 1 tart apple (Granny Smith or similar)
  • 30 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 375 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice

To prepare

Peel and grate the apple and immediately soak in apple cider vinegar.
 
Put egg yolks in food processor and start blending while slowly adding olive oil one drop at a time. Don't rush this or add the oil in a stream or the aioli will not form.

After about 1/3 of the oil has been added and a mayonnaise consistency has been achieved you can add the oil more steadily in a stream.

Add the garlic, grated apple and apple cider vinegar to food processor. Taste for seasoning adding lemon juice and salt as needed. 
 
Black pepper crouton ingredients

  • ¼ cup cubed thick bread
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 2.5 ml unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs Italian parsley (finely chopped)

To prepare

Sauté the bread cubes in olive oil over medium-high heat in a pan until browned on all sides, season with salt and pepper.

Do not let the bread burn. Once the bread is slightly crisp, add the butter and toss together with chopped parsley and black pepper.

Venison carpaccio ingredients 

  • 2 x 3 ounce venison medallions
  • 7.5 ml maple syrup
  • 2 sprigs sage (finely chopped)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 2 sprigs Italian parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2.5ml sherry vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

To prepare

Mix together herbs, maple syrup and vinegar in a bowl.

Season the venison with salt and pepper and pat meat dry.

Heat pan to medium high and add grapeseed oil or another high-smoking point oil.

Sear venison loin until the meat is browned on all sides.

Coat the venison with herb marinade and wrap tightly in saran wrap once cooled.

Freeze for 30 minutes then remove to slice very thinly.

For presentation, serve the sliced venison on a plate, then garnish with arugula, apple cider aioli and black pepper croutons. 


 

Our Vancouver