Now that it's officially summer, it's time to enjoy all the fresh produce that we grow in Ontario. We only have a few short months to enjoy the great local produce our Ontario farmers work so hard to provide us. We're always looking for new recipes that use local ingredients and this month we've found some delicious recipes that are all about savouring the summer. Since there really isn't anything better than fresh Ontario strawberries, we've found a creative recipe that turns the sweet treat savoury. Try Fried Perch with Strawberry Salsa with our light, refreshing Estate Pinot Gris, available through the general list at the LCBO. Our Pinot Gris is dry, crisp and full of citrus and stone fruit aromas - perfect for white fish or seafood. Next up, we have a recipe using Ontario's most prevalent summer squash, zucchini. This recipe is inspired from The Combine's Zucchini Parm dish and makes for a delicious backyard summer dinner. Since zucchini doesn't have a strong flavour on its own, it tends to enrich a dish by taking on other flavours, in this case cheese and tomato sauce. Our LCBO Estate Pinot Noir with earthy undertones and bright red berry notes pairs quite nicely with tomato based sauces. The natural acidity in the wine matches the acid characteristic in the tomato sauce while cutting through the fat in the cheese. Finally, our last dish makes for a fresh side accompaniment or a lighter meal for a hot night. The sour edge of rhubarb and the spiciness of radish are an interesting match in a salad. Due to the complex flavours in this salad and spice from the radishes, our off-dry Estate Riesling seems like a great accompaniment. The hint of sweetness in the Riesling will help balance the spice and sourness from the main ingredients. The County's cool climate gives our Riesling great acidity so it won't be overwhelmed by the lemon in the dish like some other wines would be.
Fried Perch with Strawberry Salsa
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 10 min
- 1 lb Fresh Pickerel, cleaned
- ¼ cup Ontario garlic scapes, diced
- ½ cup Ontario strawberries, diced
- 2 tbsp Ontario honey
- 5 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of flour mixed with salt/pepper and cayenne
- 1L Grape seed oil
- Before setting out, mix 1 cup flour with 1 tsp of salt, pepper and cayenne. Pack in ziplock bag. This mix can be used to dredge chicken, fish or even veggies for an easy fireside “fish” fry!
- Lightly dredge cleaned pickerel in pre-mixed flour mixture shaking off any excess. Fill large cast iron pan with approximately 1 inch of oil. Heat over hot coals or gas stove.
- Drop dredged pickerel into hot oil for approx 2 minutes per side, depending on size of filets. Pickerel should be golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel or newspaper.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, add garlic scapes, red pepper, strawberries, honey, cilantro, and basil. Toss lightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- To serve, top pickerel fillets with fresh salsa.
By Chef James Eddington
- 1 zucchini sliced ½ inch thick, lengthwise or round
- Breading station (seasoned flour, egg wash, panko breadcrumbs)
- 1 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
- Homemade tomato sauce
- Lemon ricotta* (see notes)
- Your favourite pesto
- 2 whole garlic scapes
- Fried blossom** (see notes)
- Cut zucchini to desired shape and coat with flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.
- Heat 50/50 olive oil and butter and add zucchini.
- When crisp turn over, top with Parmigiano Reggiano and place in a 400 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bottom side of zucchini has crisped.
- Heat tomato sauce and pour on plate.
- Batter stuffed blossom and deep fry till crisp and browned.
- Place cooked zucchini on tomato sauce and spoon pesto around plate, sprinkle with lemon ricotta and garnish with grilled garlic scapes and fried blossom.
- *For the lemon ricotta, bring 2 litres of whole milk and a 1/2 tsp of salt to 185 degrees over medium heat. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar, stir for one minute. Leave covered and undisturbed for 2 hours. Gently scoop out curds from mixture and place in cheesecloth lined strainer, let drain for 2 hours. Place drained curd in bowl and add juice from one lemon, adjust seasoning with salt if needed.
- *For the blossom, combine 225g of Monforte Water Buffalo Queso Fresca (or fresh chèvre) with some thyme and parsley in a mixer. turn on, slowly add olive oil till you get a creamy spreadable texture. Place mixture in piping bag and pipe into blossom, refrigerate until firm. Dip into your favourite batter, beer or otherwise and fry at 350 until golden brown.
By The Combine
Rhubarb and Radish Salad
Prep Time: 15 min Total Time: 15 min
- 1 bunch Ontario radishes, cut into matchsticks or thin rounds
- 2 large Ontario rhubarb stalks, cut into matchsticks or ribbons
- 1 Ontario shallot, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup Ontario mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon honey
- ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and mustard in a large bowl to blend. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil and whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add radishes, rhubarb, shallot, and mint to bowl and toss to coat.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Notes: Add some fresh Ontario strawberries since they're in season!