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05/25/2011

He grills, he scores

by Bernard Weil, Chief Photographer/Multimedia

It's not every day one gets to dine with a famous former Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player. Such was the case when Photo Editor Tim Finlan handed me an assignment to photograph hockey legend Borje Salming, who was in town to promote his cookbook Grilling with Salming, at Toronto Star Food Editor Jennifer Bain's home. 

When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was the pint sized barbecue, similar to one my son Tyler bought me for Christmas. Jennifer just purchased it for the shoot but voiced her concern that it might be too small. I knew it would not be an issue. As it turned out, Salming was unfazed by the puny grill and with legendary greatness, just shy of a hat trick, prepared a main dish of Chinook salmon from British Columbia and finished with grilled pineapple over coconut gelato and maple syrup.

 

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“One thing I did learn on the ice . . . is that you can’t win without taking risks,” writes Salming in his cookbook. “The same rule applies to barbecuing: you must take some chances.”

 

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Salming tries to close the vents on an overheating grill, saving the table cloth from going up in flames. 

 

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Salming's recipe was simple; drizzle the filet with olive oil, follow with flakey sea salt and black pepper or lemon pepper.

 

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It's in the crease. Salming keep a close eye on the final minutes.  

 

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Less able to control the heat on a charcoal barbeque, Salming makes sure the filet doesn't turn into a hockey puck.

 

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A final sprinkle of salt and it's ready. "Bon appétit,” says the chef.

 

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Salming scores again with grilled pineapple.  

 

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Dessert is served.  Coconut gelato with grilled pineapple and maple syrup. The dish was a hit with my family when I prepared it recently on a cottage weekend.

 

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Salming also scored big in his early days as a defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as seen here in this 1978 photo by Star photographer Graham Bezant.

 

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Salming crushes his opponent in this 1978 photo by Star photographer Frank Lennon.

 

 

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Loves this guy, he's my favourite defence man...growing up watching him in the '80s and still think that he is one of the all time best.

Toronto loves you...I bet Canada loves you too.

Borje and I used to be neighbours in High Park. We lived on Howard Park, and he was right behind on High Park Gardens. We both shopped at a little IGA on Roncesvalles. It was nice to talk to one of our favourite "Buds" when he was off the ice.

Bill Sandford

I can't believe this is the grill you gave the guy to work with, LOL, but I gotta say the meal looks and sounds delicious! Will definitely be picking up his book!

The book signing was great. We was so classy - taking time with everyone who was there. Carefully signing everything and anything. Awesome to see from my all-time favourite player. And the cookbook is amazing too!

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