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7–Ingredient SoBo Miso Oysters with Smoked Salmon Bacon

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A former Canada’s Best New Restaurants winner shows us why Tofino’s food is driving tourism as much as whale–watching.

“At first people were hesitant because they weren’t used to ordering good food from a food truck,” says chef Lisa Ahier. “The surfers tried it first, then the tourists started stopping by.” And when SoBo landed on the Canada’s Best New Restaurants list in 2003, “our lineups were suddenly 10 times longer." With SoBo’s success came the birth of a new food destination. “The food in Tofino is now driving tourism as much as whale–watching.” Those restaurants include Ahier’s SoBo, which has since moved into a brick–and–mortar location, and Wolf in the Fog (ranked #1 in 2014). And then there’s Tacofino, where there are snaking lineups – from the original spot where Ahier parked her food truck some 20 years ago.

SoBo’s Miso Oysters with Smoked Salmon Bacon

Serves 4

Miso Sauce
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tbsp sambal oelek (chili garlic sauce)
¾ cup canola oil

8 slices cold–smoked wild salmon
8 medium oysters

To prepare the miso sauce, whisk egg yolk, miso paste, rice vinegar and sambal oelek in a medium bowl until combined, then slowly stream in oil, whisking constantly until the dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and apply cooking spray.

Lay the salmon slices across the rack and bake until dried out but not burned, 8 to 10 minutes (it will start to smell like bacon). Remove salmon and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 400°F.

Place whole oysters on a baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes to loosen the shells. Carefully shuck the oysters (they will be hot). Place shucked oysters, still full of meat and liquor, back on the baking sheet, setting the top shells aside.

Add 1 slice of salmon and 2 tablespoons of miso sauce on top of each oyster. Return to the oven and bake until bubbly and golden brown. (Tip: The broiler setting is great for achieving a brûlée top but watch the oysters as they can quickly burn.)

To serve, turn the reserved top shells upside down, and use them to balance the broiled oysters. Serve 2 oysters per person.

Related: Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2021 — see the list

Wine pairing

The salinity of oysters and smoked salmon, along with the salty sweetness of miso, lend themselves to a sparkly bottle of Blue Mountain Vineyard’s Gold Label Brut from the beautiful Okanagan Valley.

Check back for the latest updates on Canada’s Best New Cookbook, coming in spring 2022.

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November 5, 2021
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Destination Canada