Cooking Classes


Lake Diefenbaker Steelhead Trout baked on a Plank

Last week I prepared a meal for 35 people. To say I was feeling a bit of pressure is to state the obvious. Guest of honour was dee Hobsbawn-Smith. I have followed dee since we both lived in Calgary. I clipped her columns from the Calgary Herald. And I enjoyed food at her restaurant Foodsmith back in the early 1990's.

Today she lives west of Saskatoon on the family farm and I live in Swift Current, SK. Pure coincidence that we both moved back around the same time. The only difference is that dee didn't know me from a hole in the ground. Meanwhile, I am stalking her and knowing she moved to the province I didn't exactly know where.

She is an artist, an artist with words and food, and it fitted that she may have chosen Eastend. I also checked out that ranching area.

Fast forward and serendipity has brought us together. Dee is the Saskatoon convivium leader for Slow Food. After inviting her to speak in my town about Slow Food I drove to Saskatoon and volunteered at their annual Slow Food fundraiser dining experience.

I would have thought I might have been nervous and shy but dee has a gentle and kind manner about her. She makes one feel comfortable and is genuinely interested in you.

So back to the dinner for 35. On the Wednesday before her Sunday reading here in town we had only four people signed up. I considered cancelling or at least moving it to my dining room table. Within two days 35 people signed up for a locavore Slow Food style meal.

This steelhead is one of the dishes I made for that dinner. Lucky me, my Community Supported Foraging box had just arrived from northern Saskatchewan and I had some splendid wild foraged ingredients.

Planked Steelhead Trout

spruce tips
camelina oil
baby rhubarb
sea salt
spruce tip syrup
cedar or alder plank
side of steelhead trout, skin on

Make a simple syrup by boiling one cup of water with one cup of sugar. Add 1/4 cup of spruce tips and continue to simmer until the syrup thickens. Cool and strain.

Finely chop a tablespoon of young spruce tips. Finely chop red baby rhubarb. Add both to the syrup.

Preheat plank in a 475 F oven until you can smell the wood. Rub with oil. Lay a side of trout on the hot board, skin side down. Rub the fish with oil and the syrup mixture. Place in the hot oven and bake for about ten minutes, or done.

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