With the 4th of July coming up this week, chances are a little backyard BBQ might be on your agenda sometime in the coming days.  Whether you’re entertaining or planning a dish to bring to a party, you can always count on expert guidance from the chefs and associates at Heinen’s Fine Foods.  In Part 2 of our 3 part series about summer grilling, we were looking for ways to bring something unexpected to our 4th of July tables this year.  We walked away with two great recommendations that are sure to ignite flavorful fireworks with every bite.

Heinen's Fine Foods - 100 N. Hough Street in Barrington, Illinois
Heinen’s Fine Foods – 100 N. Hough Street in Barrington, Illinois

One of the first things Heinen’s seafood mongers raved about is their farm raised Verlasso Salmon. The company’s seafood buyer, Marty Gaul says this fish is absolutely delicious.  “Verlasso Salmon is buttery, it’s mild and it melts in your mouth.  It comes from Chile, there are no hormones and it’s raised in pens in the cold, pure waters of southern Patagonia with fewer than four salmon per ton of water to minimize stress so they are as healthy as possible.”

Verlasso Sustainable Premium Farmed Salmon Available at Heinen's Fine Foods in Barrington
Verlasso Sustainable Premium Farmed Salmon Available at Heinen’s Fine Foods in Barrington

The salmon is also raised on a diet rich in Omega-3, which the producers say is transformed naturally into a health benefit for us.

Verlasso Salmon
Verlasso Salmon

And Marty says, without question, that diet impacts the flavor.

“The taste is very mild and everybody loves it, from the young to the old.

If you don’t typically care for salmon, you will for sure like Verlasso Salmon. I have yet to see one person turn their back on this product.”

To prepare this salmon in a special way for the 4th of July, Marty recommends that we try grilling it on cedar planks, having fun with different flavors.

“You could soak your cedar plank in various fruit juices like orange juice or apple juice so the fish takes on that cedar and fruit juice flavor.”

“Plus, grilling salmon on a cedar plank gives it a nice crispy texture without overcooking it.  I soak my planks for about two hours, then you grill the fish on the plank for about fifteen minutes, skin side down, putting the plank right on the grill.”

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

If you don’t feel like grilling seafood, but you want to serve something special at your parties this summer, another great option available at Heinen’s is Lava Lake Lamb.  It’s a grass-fed, summer lamb raised sustainably and humanely at the Lava Lake Ranch, southeast of Sun Valley in the Northern Rockies.

Lava Lake Lamb - LavaLakeLamb.com
Lava Lake Lamb

Heinen’s is so serious about teaching associates where their food comes from, the company recently sent a group of them to the Idaho ranch where Lava Lake Lamb is raised.  Heinen’s Meat Merchandiser, Eric Bessleman, says the experience was eye opening.  “The owner, Brian Bean, has 27,000 acres next to a Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve lava flow.  It’s a fantastic and cool place to see.  He has this property and he’s trying to raise the best lamb in the world.”

Lava Lake Lamb Available at Heinen's Fine Foods in Barrington
Lava Lake Lamb Available at Heinen’s Fine Foods in Barrington

“At the ranch, they have these shepherds from Peru who live in covered wagons out in the open prairie tending to the flocks.”

Covered Wagons on the Ranch House Peruvian Shepherds Raising Lava Lake Lamb in the Northern Rockies - Courtesy of Eric Besselman
Covered Wagons on the Ranch House Peruvian Shepherds Raising Lava Lake Lamb in the Northern Rockies – Courtesy of Eric Besselman

Because the lamb grazes on wild grasses, Eric says the meat is extraordinarily tender and flavorful, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and Beta Carotene.

Lava Lake Lamb on the Grill
Lava Lake Lamb on the Grill

“The lamb is all-grass fed, young and only in season fresh three months out of the year, in July, August and September.

It has a different flavor profile and is a very mild-tasting product with a hint of sweetness.  It’s fantastic!”

When it comes to grilling the Lava Lake Lamb, Eric says there’s one tried and true tip you never want to skip.

“No matter what or where you’re grilling, the biggest thing you can do to help yourself is to prevent sticking by preparing the grill.

Pick up a clean cloth with a pair of tongs, dip the cloth in oil and rub it along the grate.  That way you can have those grill marks without your food sticking to the grill.”

Post - Heinen's - Grilled Meats

Chef Tim Stadnik at Heinen’s Barrington echoes that advice, with a reminder that both Verlasso Salmon and the Lava Lake Lamb have great versatility to go beyond the grill.

Heinen's Barrington Chef, Tim Stadnik
Heinen’s Barrington Chef, Tim Stadnik

“I do lamb three ways, for example.  Usually, I grill it with a little salt and pepper.

Or, I’ll pound it really thin, coat it with an egg wash  and bread it with a Parmesan crust to make a lamb chop melanase, which sells really well in our prepared foods case.

The third way is to just bake it in the oven, roasting it with seasonings or fresh herbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic to get a nice crust on the meat.”

Discover your own favorite preparations by picking up some Lava Lake Lamb or Verlasso Salmon at Heinen’s this week.

You’ll have more than a fabulous meal, you’ll have stories to share about where these foods come from.  It’s those conversations that Heinen’s owners hope to foster as they bring the finest foods to their stores for our tables.

Stay tuned for Part 3 in our Summer Grilling series with Heinen’s Fine Foods, when we’ll be sharing fun ways to serve dinner (or dessert), on a stick this summer and hot off the grill.

If you love kabobs in all shapes and sizes, you don’t want to miss it!

Heinen’s Fine Foods is located at the Shops at Flint Creek, 500 N. Hough Street, in Barrington, Illinois. They’re now open from 8:00 a.m. To 8:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Click HERE to follow them on Facebook or find them online at HeinensBarrington.com.

Heinen's Fine Foods in Barrington, Illinois
Heinen’s Fine Foods in Barrington, Illinois

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