Menu Pick of the Month

It feels so good to have the warm weather and sunshine back in the forecast!  We’re welcoming the spring and summer temps with a tasty dish that will surely satisfy your palate: blackened salmon over crispy rice cakes topped with apples, greens, and candied walnuts tossed in a Dijon and balsamic vinaigrette, finished off with crispy potato shoelaces … whew!  Talk about a mouthful!  This is a great, light meal to prepare for your friends and family at that upcoming cookout or picnic.  Or, stop in at John Harvard’s, take a seat, and let our talented staff serve it to you! 
First things first: make your vinaigrette and let the flavors marry for a few hours.  An easy recipe for your balsamic vinaigrette is as follows …
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots
1 cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup of oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Put your shallots, vinegar, and mustard in your blender.  Start on low speed and slowly turn up to medium speed.  Add your oil by slow drizzle and let your vinaigrette emulsify.  It will start to turn from a dark black color to light brown.  That’s when you know it is done.  Now just a pinch of salt and pepper and you have your dressing for the greens on top of the salmon.  Store the dressing in the fridge; it’s best if it has a few hours to cure so all the flavors can come together.
Next, make the seasoning for the salmon.  The Cajun seasoning we use here at John Harvard’s is as follows …
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2-½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-¼ teaspoons oregano
1-¼ teaspoons thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Season your salmon on both sides with the Cajun seasoning we just made.  (Save any extras and use it on steak or chicken another time.)  Cook in a pan with hot oil.  The salmon will take 3-4 minutes per side; it will become flaky when it is finished.  Let the salmon rest while we whip up the rice cakes.
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Spread on a sheet tray and place it in the fridge.  For this recipe, I use jasmine because it is a little stickier than regular rice, but any rice will work just fine.  Once it is cooled down, make your rice cakes.  Take a handful and pack it in your hands to form a little rice cake.  Get a pan hot with oil in it and set your cakes in until they are golden brown on both sides.  Set aside on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil and season with salt and pepper.  
For the potato shoelaces, take a potato and slice it lengthwise into slices as thin as you can.  Lay the slices down and cut into little sticks.  Fry these until golden brown.  Set aside on a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. 
Now let’s prepare the candied walnuts.  In a bowl add walnuts, honey, salt and pepper, and an egg white.  Toss ‘til coated and bake for 7-8 minutes at 350ºF.  Once they are done, set them aside to cool.  Next, take an apple and slice it into thin slices, lay the slices down just like the potato and cut into thin strips.  In a bowl add your greens, apples, and walnuts and dress them with the balsamic dressing we made earlier and toss.  Lay your rice cakes down, top with salmon, then with your salad and potato shoelaces.  Enjoy!
Ahh, Hop Sun … this summer thirst quencher is not your average wheat ale.  Light and slightly dry, it is the addition of fresh hop flowers after fermentation that adds a necessary kick on a hot summer day.  Hop Sun is mild enough to be a refreshing summer offering, but has enough hop profile to keep your taste buds tingling for another sip.  Wheat, barley, and hops coalesce in this superb session ale, a telltale symbol of fun in the sun.  Summer never tasted so good!
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