Stephanie Inn Dining Room Chef

Aaron Bedard
Executive Chef

Growing up in the small ranching town of La Grande in Eastern Oregon, Aaron’s childhood was a peppered with summers on cattle ranches, working on the line at his dad’s restaurant, and Sunday aromas of mom’s hearty stews simmering on the stovetop. Subsequent training with top honors at the Western Culinary Institute and a chance encounter with some of the Oregon coast’s top chefs at a charity event landed him at the beach, where he’s been ever since.

Ask Aaron what he loves to cook and he immediately jumps to those early
influences – Osso Bucco, lamb shanks, the anticipation of slow-cooked short ribs – but then pauses, as the Pacific bounty of Dungeness crab, oysters from Netarts Bay, and sleuthing out chanterelles in the coastal range vie for first place in his heart.  When Astoria fisherman flag the first spring run Chinook salmon just for Aaron, well, it doesn’t get better than that (except on days off, when he angles the waters himself). Beyond the 8 chickens and heritage blueberries on his 2-acre coastal homestead, what Aaron loves most is being a part of so many guests’ special life moments, where beautiful, seasonal food makes for an unforgettable celebration.

 

 

 

Chef Aaron Bedard served this dish at Feast Portland earning rave reviews from Portland Monthly’s Jordan Michelman for his “shockingly fresh king salmon and macadamia Lomi Lomi.”

Chef Aaron’s Wild King Salmon Lomi Lomi 

For the Salmon:

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 bunch fresh cilantro

1 lime zested

1 pound wild salmon fillet (skin removed), rinsed and patted dry

 

For the Salad:

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

4 scallions, thinly sliced

½ sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Juice of 1 lime

Chopped macadamia nuts, for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Cure the salmon: Mix the lime zest, salt and sugar in a bowl. Place 2 long pieces of plastic wrap on a work surface, overlapping them to form a cross. Put half of the cilantro sprigs in the middle of the plastic wrap and top with half of the salt-sugar mixture. Press the salmon into the mixture, making sure the bottom of the fish is covered with salt and sugar. Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining salt-sugar mixture and rub it in, then place the rest of the cilantro on top. Wrap tightly in the plastic and refrigerate for 24 hours.

 

  1. The next day, unwrap the salmon, rinse off the salt and pat dry. Cut into 1/4-to-1/2-inch cubes.

 

  1. Make the salad: Toss the salmon, cilantro, tomatoes, sweet onions, scallions, jalapeno, vegetable and sesame oils and lime juice in a bowl. (Traditionally, the cured salmon is flaked and “massaged” with the other ingredients by hand.) Garnish the salad with chopped macadamia nuts and wasabi drizzle, if desired

 

Chef Aaron’s Dungeness Crab Cakes 

Crab Cakes:

½ pound cooked Dungeness crab

2 ounces shelled, tailed and de-veined prawns or shrimp

4 tablespoons heavy cream

 

2 ounces scallops

Juice of ½ lemon

¼ cup chopped chives

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Lemon Aioli:

2 egg yolks

Juice of ½ lemon

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

 

Balsamic Syrup:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Fresh chopped chives for garnish

 

To prepare the crab cake mixture: Pick through the cooked crab and remove shells. Set the crab aside. In a food processor, combine the prawns, scallops, cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Puree the mixture until smooth. Transfer the mousseline to a mixing bowl and gently fold in the crab, chives and parsley. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill until needed.

 

To make the lemon aioli: In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Whisk in the lemon juice, garlic and mustard, mixing well. Gradually add the olive oil, mixing steadily, until it is incorporated. If the mixture is too thick, substitute a bit of water for the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

 

To make the balsamic syrup: Pour 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer rapidly until it is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup.

 

To complete the crab cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Form ¼-cup portions of the crab cake mixture into small patties, about ½-inch thick. Fry the cakes on both sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.

 

To serve: Arrange hot crab cakes on a plate and sprinkle with chopped chives. Drizzle a touch of balsamic syrup around the edges and serve with lemon aioli on the side.

 

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer