Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Recipe Rescues: Lightening up your recipes

By Patrick Mathieu   

Features Health and Wellness Nutrition

Changing seasons provide a great opportunity to switch up what we are cooking in the kitchen. As we leave the cold of winter behind and shift into spring, I want to leave the dishes of winter behind as well.

Swap out the long, slow braises and hunker down comfort food for light spring dishes and fresh seasonal ingredients.

Warmer weather brings an array of new produce after a long winter. There’s nothing more welcome than the sight of spring’s first vegtables: crisp lettuces, earthy morels, spears of asparagus, onions, fresh peas, green beans and piles of bright rhubarb join year-round staples like garlic and beets. These are a few of my springtime favourites you can try to work into your next recipe. Asparagus and leeks are great additions to dishes like soup, and add a boost without overpowering other ingredients. Rhubarb is available once a year so make the best of it! Its tart flavour and vevety texture when cooked make it a popular ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes.

During the spring months, we celebrate events like Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These are great opportunities to try something new and fresh like my Salmon Wellington, Beef Tataka and Pistachio Encrusted Halibut. These are super simple recipes that have that little bit of elegance and freshness that make them perfect for spring.


If you ever need inspiration, please reach out or check out my Instagram account (stationhouse_) where you can see what’s cooking in my home and firehouse. Eat well and stay safe!

Beef Tataki


  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh ginger and garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, finely chopped or 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek


  • 1 piece center cut beef tenderloin, about 1lb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Pea shoots, for garnish

For the marinade:

  1.  In a glass bowl or in a sealable plastic bag, combine all of the ingredients and set aside.

For the Tataki:

  1. In a skillet over high heat, brown the tenderloin on all sides in the oil for a couple minutes per side. Let cool for a few minutes. Place the tenderloin in the marinade and coat thoroughly. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Remove the meat from the marinade and strain the marinade through a sieve. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of the strained marinade.
  3. Thinly slice the meat against the grain and divide among plates. Serve with the pea shoots and drizzle with the mayonnaise. Bon appetit!

Pistachio Crusted Halibut with Gremolata

For Halibut:

  • 4 (1 1/4-inch-thick) pieces skinless halibut fillet (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped


  1. Put fish in a shallow baking dish, pour milk over it, and chill, covered, turning over once, 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together pistachios and cornmeal in a shallow bowl.
  3. Remove fish from milk, letting excess drip off. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in cornmeal-pistachio mixture. Transfer to a clean plate as coated.
  4. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté fish, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
  5. While fish cooks, make the gremolata. Using vegetable peeler, remove peel in long strips from lemon. Mince lemon peel. Transfer to small bowl. Mix in parsley and garlic. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve fish with Gremolata on the side. Bon appetit!

Salmon Wellington


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, for spinach
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, for spinach
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 a block)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, softened to room temperature
  • 1 side of salmon, skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, for salmon
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, for salmon
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the garlic and onions, cooking until translucent.
  3. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper, cooking until spinach is wilted. Add the breadcrumbs, cream cheese, parmesan, and dill, stirring until mixture is evenly combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. On a cutting board, smooth out the sheet of puff pastry. Place the salmon in the middle of the pastry and season both sides with salt and pepper.w
  5. Place several spoonfuls of the spinach mixture on top of the salmon, smoothing it out so that it does not spill over the sides.
  6. Fold the edges of the puff pastry over the salmon and spinach, starting with the longer sides and then the shorter ends. Trim any excess pastry from the ends, then fold the ends on top. Flip the puff pastry-wrapped salmon over and transfer for a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Brush the beaten egg on the top and sides of the pastry. Score the top of the pastry with a knife, cutting shallow diagonal lines to create a crosshatch pattern. Brush the top again with the egg wash.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.Slice, then serve! Bon appetit!


Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario and author of Firehouse Chef: Favourite Recipes from Canada’s Firefighters. Contact Patrick at

Print this page


Stories continue below