This stunning grilled whelk recipe from Toronto's Boralia reflects the restaurant's unique vision of blending historical ingredients and processes with influences from Canada's diverse immigrant populations. Using native waved whelks and burdock, the dish is given a fusion twist with the addition of kombu beurre blanc.
Boralia serves modern interpretations of historic Canadian recipes, taking inspiration from recipes of the early French and British settlers, subsequent immigrant groups, and techniques and indigenous ingredients of the First Nations.
To begin, prepare the whelks. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the whelks for 1 minute before quickly draining and chilling in iced water. Using a fork, carefully remove the whelk from its shell, trying to pull it out in one piece if possible
Cut away the stomach of the whelks, discard, and rinse the meaty parts thoroughly. Thoroughly clean the the shells as these will be used for serving (they will take some scrubbing – steel wool will help)
Place the whelks in a small pan so they fit rather snugly and pour in a small amount of water until they are 50% covered – you can also add a dash of Chinese Xiaosing wine for additional flavour if desired. Braise for 20 minutes then allow to cool
Meanwhile, make the kombu beurre blanc. Place the shallots, white wine, rice vinegar and kombu in a pan and reduce by 50%. Strain and transfer the reduction into a smaller pan
Over a low heat, whisk in butter a couple of pieces at a time until all the butter is emulsified into the reduction. Season with salt and shiro dashi and set aside
To serve, slice the chilled whelk thinly and place on skewers. Grill until warmed through
While the whelk is grilling, prepare the carrot and burdock. Heat a frying pan over a high heat until it is very hot. Add the butter – it should brown almost immediately. Quickly add the carrot, burdock and wakame and sauté for 20 seconds. Deglaze with soy sauce to finish
Place the whelk skewers in the whelk shells and pour the beurre blanc over the top. Place on a bed of the sautéed carrot and burdock and serve