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It’s Friday Night, – Time to Celebrate with an Easy Seasonal Meal

April 17, 2009
Set up dinner near the window so you can enjoy the evening light that is lasting longer, now that Spring is here.

Set up dinner near the window so you can enjoy the evening light that is lasting longer, now that Spring is here.

The light is lingering a bit longer, the days are getting warmer, and there are more and more local and seasonal things you can add to the table.  Here’s a plan for an easy supper that’s healthy and easy.  It could also be romantic.  Why not set up a small table and chairs in front of that west facing window and catch the last of the light as you enjoy this meal?

Head to your local farmer's market if you have time.  This is the chef from the Fairmont Chateau Laurier shopping for veggies in the Byward Market. Obzma made a visit there too!

Head to your local farmer's market if you have time. This is the chef from the Fairmont Chateau Laurier shopping for veggies in the Byward Market. Obama made a visit there too!

It’s Spring and somehow it feels as if the fare should be light and green.  So, if time permits, see if you can get to the local farmer’s market on your lunch hour.

Shopping For Ingredients

1. Pick up some fresh greens – there should be some first crops of baby greens available.  If not garden-grown, there’ will be hothouse. (If you have time and live in the right area, get out in the garden and harvest some garlic mustard greens to add to the salad, or to use as a wilted green on the side – see previous post on foraging.)

2.Don’t neglect the root veggies that have sustained us through winter – they can still be an important part of dins.

Chioggia beets are a colourful and healthy addition to dinner.

Chioggia beets are a colourful and healthy addition to dinner.

Grab some fresh carrots, tops on, some baby beets, golden or chioggia if you can get them, lemons, green onions and some little potatoes.

3. Next, visit the bakery and pick up a good loaf of bread, a nice rustic artisanal loaf, if possible.

Your own home made bread is a real bonus.

Your own home made bread is a real bonus.

( Stay in touch with chefdumonde for an upcoming post on how to make the best no-knead bread ever. So nice to bake your own bread, and it takes no time at all.)

4. A quick visit to your fishmonger – I go to Dave’s Fish Market on Plains Road in Burlington.  Ask for two generous pieces of Atlantic Salmon, wild if possible. (If you’re feeling flush, lobster season is at its best in Canada from April to June – two nice lobsters would be lovely but even though prices have come down, they are still pricey for a simple dinner.)

Our own Maritime lobster is at its best from April to June. This one is part blue, a rare occurence, but not one that affects the flavour.

Our own Maritime lobster is at its best from April to June. This one is part blue, a rare occurrence, but not one that affects the flavour.

5. Visit the Cheese store and get a small wedge of artisanal cheese.  My favourite these days is Upper Canada Cheese’s Comfort Cream, a rich soft brie-like cheese with a complex flavour.

This rich semi-soft cheese pairs perfectly with fruit and nuts.

This rich semi-soft cheese pairs perfectly with fruit and nuts.

6. Hit the wine store for a bottle of Niagara dry Riesling. The  2007 Semi-Dry Riesling Vineland Estates – (great value at $13.95) would be a perfect match, but you can only get it at the vineyard, or you can order it online.

This fresh Riesling pairs perfectly with the salmon and with the fruit and cheese.

This fresh Riesling pairs perfectly with the salmon and with the fruit and cheese.

The Niagara Rieslings are excellent and pair beautifully with seafood or salmon.

7. Can’t ignore dessert. It’s blasphemy to suggest, but pick up some imported strawberries.  We’re treading water here just now waiting for our own, but it isn’t a crime to indulge ahead of time. Also buy some walnuts and a handful of medjool dates.

8. If pressed for time, steps 1-7 can be accomplished with one visit to a good grocery store that also has an in-house Canadian wine store.

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub little potatoes, beets and carrots, tops removed.  All you really need for a dinner for two is about four small potatoes, four beets and four carrots. (Put the tops outside in the garden for the hungry rabbits.) Cut the skinny ends from the carrots. (Place the ends in a ziplock, freeze and use in soups or stews later.) Toss the root vegetables in a bowl with coarse sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in a low roasting dish, cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

2. While that’s baking, place fish side by side on a large square of parchement paper. Add four thins slices of lemon, slivered pieces of green onion and some slivered carrot to the top, add a dollop of butter and salt and pepper, and fold up into a package. Add to the oven twenty minutes before the root veggies are done.

3. Make a simple lemon vinaigrette by whisking together four tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, one finely grated garlic clove,  one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, half cup of good olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

4. Wash and dry the greens and place in a bowl.  Just before serving, toss with the lemon vinaigrette.

5. Wash and dry the strawberries and arrange on a large platter with the Comfort Cream cheese, walnuts and dates.  Set aside to come to room temperature for dessert.

6. When root vegetables and the salmon are done, remove from oven and plate up.  Start with a handful of the dressed greens in one third of the plate, add the salmon and root vegetables, and drizzle some of the lemon vinaigrette on the salmon.  Top with some fresh chopped chives from your garden.  Serve with slices of the artisanal bread and a glass of Riesling.  To Die For!

7. By now, the sun should be setting out the window.  Serve the fruit, cheese and nuts with another glass of wine, and just enjoy.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 28, 2009 2:52 pm

    That dining room looks familiar!

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