This recipe was created for Club House for Chefs by: Istvan Galambos, Executive Chef of Belfast Love in Toronto, ON.
For the Toasted Walnuts: Heat oven to 350-degress F. Spread walnuts over a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and then chop with a knife and reserve.
For the Quinoa: In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add garlic, thyme and quinoa. Season with a salt (½ tsp) and black pepper (½ tsp). Cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and reserve. Meanwhile heat a sauté pan to medium-high, and add olive oil (20ml). When you see the first bit of smoke rise from the oil, add shallot, carrot, celery and garlic. Season with salt (1 tsp) and black pepper (½ tsp). Reduce heat to medium and sweat the vegetables for 5-6 minutes, or until softened. Add the reserved quinoa, Baharat seasoning and walnuts. Stir to combine. Add chives to finish and pour quinoa mixture into a bowl to cool.
For the Squash: Heat oven to 350-degrees F. Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out. Combine maple syrup, pure vanilla extract and olive oil (10ml) in a small bowl. Pour the maple vanilla mix into the cavity of each squash and season with salt and pepper. Rub mix well into the squash to coat the surface. Bake, cut side down for 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft to the touch. Remove from oven, flip the squash upright and let cool. Scoop out 50% of the cooked squash flesh and rough chop. Fold the chopped squash into the quinoa. Add squash and quinoa mixture into the cavity of the squash. Place filled squash back into the oven and bake until warmed (approximately 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and drizzle olive oil (1ml) over the quinoa and reserve.
For the Pickerel: Rub each filet liberally with the Lawry’s Buffalo Wing Seasoning, then season with salt and black pepper. Place in the fridge uncovered for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375-degrees F, then heat a large non-stick sauté pan to medium-high. Add olive oil (20ml) and swirl the pan to coat. Once the oil begins to smoke add Pickerel filets skin side down. Reduce heat to medium and let the fish cook in the pan for 5 minutes. Add lemons cut side down and place pan directly in the oven, cook for another 10-14 minutes. The fish is ready when a thermometer probe reads 150F.
For Assembly: Remove fish and squash from the oven. Place each squash half on the cutting board and slice lengthwise. Plate squash on one side of plate, and pickerel filet off to the side. Garnish with lemon juice and lemon.