Fred Mensinga gained much of his experience all over Europe before coming to the United States in 1979 joining the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles . He joined the Anaheim Hilton as executive chef in 1985. The Anaheim Hilton is the largest hotel in
Southern California. It has 1600 deluxe guest rooms, two 29000 square foot grand ballrooms, 52 individual meeting rooms, one Italian Restaurant, one Pacific Rim Restaurant and one Café which serves up to 4000 customers a day.
Mensinga also started a magazine almost 11 years ago after searching fruitlessly for just the right publication on chefs and fine dining.
The magazine is full of chef profiles and recipes, which makes it a good tool for professionals. To be a good chef you need to be constantly be aware of what’s is going on out there.
Chef Mensinga is an active member of many culinary groups and serves as President of Les Toques Blanches international, a prestigious society of professional chefs. Voted Chef of the year by the Orange County Business Journal in 1998 and he has won many other awards for the hotel.
You can visit his website for the magazine at www.culinarytrends.net which includes international job listings.
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Grilled Atlantic Salmon with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette
- 1 side around 2 to 2.5 pounds salmon filet/skin on/fat trimmed off scales bones removed
- 2 ea large Roma tomatoes
- 4 ea Shiitake Mushrooms (3inch cap)
- 4 ea BBY Bok Choy
- 4 bunch fresh spinach
- 4 oz fresh basil
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- no unit salt
- no unit white pepper freshly ground
- 5 sprig lemon-thyme
- for the Orange Blossom Vinaigrette
- 32 fl oz orange juice
- 8 fl oz white wine (Chardonnay)
- 16 fl oz Orange Blossom Vinegar available through Swiss Chalet
- 24 fl oz fishstock
- 3 ea finely sliced shallots
- 1 ea bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- 15 ea crushed white peppercorns
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ pound Plugra butter cut in small cubes
- no unit salt to taste
- 1 bottle Pumpkin Seed Oil available in specialty stores
Blanch tomatoes for about 10 seconds in boiling saltwater and cool them afterwards in salted ice water. Reserve the boiled saltwater for later. Peel off skin, cut tomatoes lengthwise in halves and remove all seeds. Line them up on an oiled sheet pan, brush tomato halves with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and season with salt. Place them inside a 225 degree fahrenheit oven for about 3-4 hours in order to dry them out. This will strongly intensify their flavor. ( This could be done a day ahead)
Meanwhile, remove stems from spinach and wash them thoroughly until it is free of all sand. Blanch it quickly in the reserved boiling saltwater and cool it off in salted ice water. When cold, pull spinach out of water and gently squeeze any excess water out. Proceed the same way with the whole Baby Bok Choy. Set aside. Cut 12 slices (2-2.5 oz.) from the filet of salmon (skin still on), starting from center on. The cut should done, while holding the knife in a flat angle, so that you receive about a half inch thick slices. Set aside in refrigerator.
Orange Blossom Vinaigrette
Combine orange juice, white wine, shallots, white peppercorns (crushed), bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce on medium heat to about half. Then add orange blossom vinegar, white fish stock and the sprig of thyme and basil. Reduce again over medium heat to about half. Season to taste with salt. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and keep vinaigrette hot in a bain marie until serving. Right before serving, slowly incorporate the butter with a hand blender or whisk. Reserve a little butter for sauteing the vegetables.
Plate set up
Saute blanched spinach and baby bok choy in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. When hot, cut bok choy lengthwise in half. Set aside. Cut off stems of mushrooms, brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill them from both sides.
Season salmon with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Brush with olive oil and grill from both sides until medium- this will go very quick. Set side. Warm up tomato halves in oven.
Now place a little sauteed spinach in middle of large dinner plate and put 1 slice of broiled salmon on top. Arrange a half of bok choy and one grilled Shiitake mushroom on top. Place another slice of salmon on top and the second half of bok choy. Put last slice of salmon and the remaining half of tomato on top. The whole idea is to build up a layered tower of salmon and vegetables in the center of the plate. Finish up the dish by arranging the finished vinaigrette around and drizzling some roasted pumpkinseed oil around. Garnish the top of the tower with the basil sprig.
Recommendation: Serve with potato gnocchi or any other starch of your choice.