Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

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Gastronomically yours,

Horseradish

 

Horseradish is an herbaceous perennial that is related to turnips, cabbage and mustard. The entire plant is reputed to have medicinal properties and has been used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, rheumatism, and joint pain. It was commonly prescribed for bronchial, lung and throat ailments which explain why horseradish may once have been known as hoarse-radish. Its medicinal and culinary uses have been documented since the Middle Ages throughout Asia, Egypt and the Roman Empire. Today horseradish is being studied for its cancer fighting properties.

 In the kitchen we consume the horseradish roots which look somewhat like a cross between a dishevelled parsnip and a lumpy piece of ginger with a light tanned skin and white center.  The roots are harvested in the fall by cutting them from the plant. Due to Ontario’s growing season horseradish producers only harvest about half of their crop as the rest is left behind to grow the next generation of to be harvested as our climate does not allow for it to be propagated from seed. Due to this method of harvesting it is believed that Ontario grown horseradish could potentially be the same plant being harvested generation after generation with a possible genealogy that is centuries old.

 Horseradish was chosen as 2011’s Herb of the Year which means we will see a spike in its use and availability. Ontario grown horseradish is commonly found innocently lounging in the produce section at this time of year. It will have no smell as its fiery personality lies dormant until the root is bruised by chopping, grating or grinding it in the kitchen which will cause it to release its potency. Its tenacity can only be controlled by vinegar which stabilizes the roots volatile oils and sulphuric compounds. The longer that one waits to add the freshly ground horseradish to a vinegar solution the hotter the horseradish becomes.

 Making your own horseradish style condiment at home is easy to do but can be a tearful experience. You may want to wear gloves and goggles for the fiery tasks that lie ahead. If nothing more at least open some windows to help air out your sinuses. You can find fresh Ontario horseradish root in the produce section of your local grocery store. I recommend selecting smaller roots to work with as they are less fibrous making them easier to work with. Once completed the following recipe will provide you with a delicious condiment that just might cure whatever ails you at this time of year. Personally I enjoy my horseradish stirred into the classic Canadian invented drink; the Caesar.

 

Home-style Horseradish

Ingredients:

1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped horseradish root

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tbsp. white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

Use a vegetable peeler to peel the roots as you would peel a carrot. Chop the peeled root into pieces. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and grind the ingredients into a smooth consistent paste. Once completed allow the mixture to rest with the lid on for a couple of minutes. Cautiously remove the lid off of the food processor, keeping your face away from the container. Store the horseradish in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

 

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