By Randall Bonner
Each year, top chefs in the Willamette Valley gather their efforts to innovate dishes with a focus on invasive species. Their creations are served up to the public at the Invasive Species Cook-Off, a fundraising event for the Institute of Applied Ecology.
This year’s event, dubbed “Eradication through Mastication,” will be held on Sunday, September 28 at Zenith Vineyard in Salem. There will be a live auction that includes guided outdoor adventures concluded with culinary presentations. The event will host live music by The Celtic Acoustic and Folkadelic Nettles, as well as demos on preparing Asian carp and nutria by Chef Philippe Parola.
On the menu for the event are hors d’oeuvres by the valley’s own Matt Bennett of Sybaris Bistro in Albany featuring crawfish-stuffed piquillo peppers, wild turkey terrine with mole spices, dandelion spanakopita, sorrel-smoked salmon puffs, and wild boar bratwurst with blackberry mustard. Main dishes from Joshua Green of Bon Appetit at Willamette University include smoked paprika and buttermilk fried bullfrog legs with guajillo adobo sauce, braised boar with bourbon blackberry glaze, among other dishes featuring local ingredients. Amelia Lane and Anna Henricks of Sweetheart Bakery in Portland will provide desserts of double chocolate blackberry swirl tart, chocolate hazelnut pâté, mint lemon-balm and rose custard tart, and hazelnut huckleberry with wild rosehips jam tart. Wash it all down with Corvallian libations, including Sky High Brewing’s “Berry Invasive Blonde Ale.”
The 2014 Invasive Species Cook-Off will be held on Sunday, September 28 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Zenith Vineyard, 5657 Zena Rd. NW, Salem, OR. Tickets can be purchased at www.eradicationbymastication.org/etickets. Discounts available for children and groups. The Grand Hotel, 201 Liberty St. SE, Salem, OR, is offering special accommodations for guests attending the event and can be reached at (503)540-7800.