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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cooking with Summer Herbs with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following recipes at the Grant Park MLCC on behalf of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Conservancy, presented on the plants used in the recipes while MLCC Product Ambassador Gary Dawyduk, presented excellent pairings for each course of the evening.

Some of the recipes have been repeated from other entries but are here by popular request for the evening.

Reception beverage:
Chartreuse & Tonic cocktail:
2 oz. Chartreuse Liqueur (#37333, 375ml) $27.05
5 oz. Tonic Water
Combine ingredients in a tall ice-filled glass and stir
Garnish with lime slice

1. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)
Paired with Givry Rouge 2007 – Louis Latour (#3321) $25.61

100g butter.
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
80g grated Parmesan
Black pepper.

Wash and dry the sage leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage. Cook very gently over a low flame taking care not to let the butter burn. Pour over cooked pasta and stir through well together with freshly grated parmesan. This super-quick sauce is ideal with 'naked ravioli' (ravioli filling without the pasta) but is also suitable with any short pasta. In this case, drain the cooked pasta keeping back a little of the water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the sage and butter and stir over a low heat for a minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in a good helping of grated Parmesan.

The sauce should look smooth and creamy; if it has dried out too much, add a few drops of milk or fresh cream. Grind a little black pepper over when serving.

2. Pea Shoot Pesto on Arctic Char
Paired with Melange Blanc 2008 – Waterbrook (#11394) $14.95

1/4 lb fresh, young pea shoots
1 bunch chives, chopped (or spring onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts (or almonds)

Place the pea shoots, chives, garlic, cheese, olive oil, pine nuts salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, pulse until a thick paste forms.

Spoon over Arctic Char fillet and bake at 350ºF for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.


3. Roast tomatoes, thyme and goat's cheese
Paired with Le Soraie Veneto Rosso 2008 – Pasqua (#7467) $17.24 and Gamay Noir/Zweigelt 2009 – Pelee Island (#216028) $11.95

Enough for 4 as a first course or as part of a main course.

For the tomatoes
4 ripe large (but not beefsteak) tomatoes
4 bushy sprigs of thyme
6 cloves of garlic
a little olive oil

For the cheese
the leaves from 3 bushy little sprigs of young thyme
200g soft goat's cheese or goat's curd
a few thyme flowers

Set the oven at 400ºF.. Wipe the tomatoes, remove their stalks and cut them in half. Place them cut-side up, snugly, in a baking dish or roasting tin. Season with salt and black pepper, coarsely ground, then tuck the garlic cloves in among them. Trickle over just enough olive oil to wet their surface then bake for 30 minutes or so until the garlic cloves are soft inside. Remove them and return the tomatoes to the oven.

Pop the soft centres from the garlic into a mixing bowl by squeezing them between your thumb and finger. Add the thyme leaves, a little coarse salt and pound the mixture together with a pestle or the back of spoon. Spread a little on each tomato.

Cut the cheeses in half and put a half on each tomato. Return each half to the oven letting it partially melt before putting the dish on the table. Serve with large chunks of roughly torn bread.

4. Arugula, caramelized onion, walnut and gorgonzola pasta
Paired with Alsace Reserve Pinot Gris 2008 – Willm (#370676) $15.21 and Mavrodaphne of Patras – Kourtaki (#208413) $13.40

2-3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 cup gorgonzola, crumbled
1 tbs olive oil
1 large bunch arugula
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
splash Vermouth, to deglaze pan
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pasta (penne, farfalle, shells, etc.)

In a large pot, caramelize onions slowly with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt to start the caramelizing. When the onions are soft and brown add the chopped walnuts. Deglaze pan with Vermouth. Add chopped arugula and gorgonzola. Season to taste. Toss with al dente cooked pasta. Serve immediately.


Finished with Drambuie. Yum!

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