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Formerly City Palate

The flavour of Edmonton’s food scene | March April 2013 | thetomato.ca

THINGS TO EAT OR DRINK

IN EDMONTON

Issue One Hundred • The Travel Issue


Kiss “same old same old” goodbye! Thursday’s Perfect Pasta

Lemony Pasta with Kale

A light cream sauce with a fresh lemon zing, garlic and sweet peppers are the perfect match for nutrient-packed kale. This pasta dish is sure to become a new favourite.

Transform your everyday favourites easily with the magic of Real Cream. Enjoy pasta like you’ve never tasted it before.

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 8 cups (2 L) packed coarsely chopped kale leaves for about 3 min or until bright green. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove kale from water and transfer to a colander to drain well. 2. Bring water back to a boil; add 12 oz (375 g) fettuccine and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot. 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter over medium heat; sauté 1 thinly sliced small onion, 1 sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips, 2 minced cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper for about 5 min or until softened. Add kale; cook, stirring often, for about 3 min or until kale is tender. Add 2 tsp (10 mL) lemon zest.

4. Whisk 1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour into 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) 5% Light Cream or 10% Half-and-Half Cream; gradually stir into skillet. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 2 min or until slightly thickened. 5. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat. Season to taste with 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, pepper, ground nutmeg and up to 1/4 tsp (1 mL) more salt. Serve sprinkled with 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese, dividing equally. Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes Yield: 4 servings

Visit anydaymagic.ca for fantastic tips on this recipe. You’ll also find The Great Cream Challenge, cream recipes and cooking tips.


editor Mary Bailey marybee@shaw.ca

Contents Features

publisher BGP Publishing

copy editor Amanda LeNeve Don Retson

designer Bossanova Communications Inc.

contributing writers Peter Bailey Jennifer Crosby Jack Danylchuk Kristine Kowalchuk Judy Schultz Karen Virag Harold Wollin/Craig Peterson

illustration/photography Elle Armon-Jones Brian Chambers Daniel Costa/Mario Costa To Be In Pictures

design and prepress Bossanova Communications Inc.

printer

6

Todos Santos: Oasis of Fresh

8

Some Ruminations on Class, Food and Great Divides

The culinary Baja | Jack Danylchuk

Including mentions of Lord Black, Timbits and Bronx Grapes | Karen Virag

10

Into the Hot Pot with the Dragon

12

The Top 100 Things to Eat or Drink

14

Teresa and the Olive Tree

18

Travels with Daniel

24

Canadian Culinary Championships 2013

26

Festival Food Served Up Right

30

Robert Pendergast’s Chowder

36

And Fish For All

A pepperhead’s foray in Sichuan | Harold Wollin and Craig Peterson

In Edmonton and area

On the road for olive oil | Mary Bailey

A chef finds inspiration in food and family

The judges speak | James Chatto, Sasha Chapman, CJ Katz

Eating in the forest at Outside Lands | Jennifer Crosby

East Coast hospitality | Kristine Kowalchuk

Auckland fish market | Judy Schultz

distribution Greenline Distribution

For advertising information call 780-431-1802.

the tomato is published six times per year: January/February March/April May/June July/August September/October November/December by BGP Publishing 9833 84 Avenue Edmonton, AB T6E 2G1 780-431-1802 Subscriptions are available for $25 per year.

Departments

5

Dish Gastronomic happenings around town

16

Wine Maven

22

Beer Guy

32

Kitchen Sink

34

Letter from the Editor

38

Feeding People

The flavour of Edmonton’s food scene | March April 2013 | thetomato.ca

Mary Bailey

San Diego Beer Safari | Peter Bailey

What’s new and notable Formerly City Palate

For editorial inquires, information, letters, suggestions or ideas, contact The Tomato at 780-431-1802, fax 780-433-0492, or email marybee@shaw.ca.

100 Issues | Mary Bailey

Dinner at Cibo

THINGS TO EAT OR DRINK

IN EDMONTON Tomato boy illustration created exclusively for The Tomato by Darcy Muenchrath, www.darcymuenchrath.com.

thetomato.ca Issue One Hundred • The Travel Issue

The Tomato | March April 2013 3


Pick uP your PaSSPort to a

culinary escape!

Culinary adventures

Start Here

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gastronomic happenings around town |

dish

it was play. it never felt like a job.

drawing on heritage

“I feel good about it,” says Stasia Nawrocki about closing her successful Southgate store, Dansk, after 37 years. Dansk was a national leader in home décor, kitchen equipment and tabletop. “Two weeks before Christmas I finally decided. We still had two years on our lease but I thought ‘that’s it.’ I feel joy, and satisfaction.

Le Creuset’s new Heritage Collection draws on the company’s extensive archives of iconic cookware designs and revives classic pieces used for preparing traditional French cuisine — all in fabulous colours — marseille, cherry, fennel and the brand new soleil (pictured). The impermeable enamel finish is fired at temps as high as 1200ºc making it impervious to daily use. It’s safe for temperatures from -53ºc to 260ºc making it truly freezer-to-oven-to-table; microwave and dishwasher friendly, virtually non-stick, worth every penny. Prices range from $85-$150 for pieces that last a lifetime and look good just as long. Available at Bella Casa and other fine kitchen shops.

“After we announced that we would be closing, customers were coming in every day to tell me the difference my decorating ideas had made. That was the best part, coming up with new ideas about entertaining and helping people arrange their homes, that’s my joy.”

Stasia Nawrocki, says goodbye to Dansk, but not to the Stollery Children’s Foundation.

Stasia is also responsible for the Scrubby (the indispensable, brightly-striped squares suitable for cleaning everything, sold everywhere). “I saw them 30 years ago, in Poland, my sisterin-law used it for washing dishes. It turned out someone made them in their garage. We imported them for years and when the owner decided to retire, my brother-in-law bought the business.”

an apple a day

What’s next? “We are going on holiday. I’m sure I’ll come up with something to do with entertaining and decorating, but right now we need a break. And I’ll always keep fundraising for the Stollery.”

“It was a great experience,” says Vinod Varshney, chair of the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at NAIT. “It challenged the students to develop creative ideas and put their thoughts into practical preparation of the dishes.”

NAIT Culinary Arts students competed in the 2013 Sobeys Apple Challenge. Their brief? Come up with some exciting ways to use apples. It was a delicious experiment, by all accounts.

talking pizza “Our prosciutto pizza is a perennial favourite,” says Clint Zaifdeen of the West Edmonton Mall Famoso beside the Cactus Club. No wonder. It’s made with prosciutto, arugula, parmigiano reggiano, with olive oil, garlic and oregano (they call it bianca sauce). “We have seasonal pizzas as well — smoked salmon, the chile lime chicken avocado. But the big hit is the Cavoletti, a new favourite available for a limited time only; fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano, gorgonzola, bianca sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, prosciutto crisps, with dates, walnuts and a drizzle of honey.” Get it while it’s hot.

sweet rosemary Cococo’s new, award-winning Rosemary Fusion bar is a trip, an intense herbal tang of rosemary and thyme coupled with habanero’s heat and a surprising hit of crunchy sea salt, gentled by dreamy-rich, high-quality milk chocolate. For a taste treat, think of pairing with the savoury flavours of charcuterie, parma ham, aged cheeses, even olives. Or, nibble away, square by square — this is a bar for chocolate lovers.

Le Creuset’s sunny classic.s Mmmm, chocolate.

The grand prize, a $500 Sobeys gift card and $500 from BC Tree Fruits, went to Heena Kim for the Trio of Apple Wonton Tasters. Andrew Bishop took home a $250 Sobeys gift card and $250 from BC Tree Fruits for his Asian inspired Apple Salad Rolls; and Jillian Gordon won a $150 Sobeys gift card and $150 from BC Tree Fruits for the Apple Mac and Cheese. Our photographer Johwanna Alleyne remarked that “the top two dishes were really memorable. The apple wontons were a great show of subtlety and flavour pairing and the savoy cabbage and apple rolls were an outside-the-box vegan dish.” “All these students were competing for the first time — to see the calibre of food they prepared was just marvellous,” says chef Varshney. “We are quite amazed and proud of the talent we have in our future chefs.”

Left to right: Katie Oberst, Andrew Bishop, Emmanuel Louie Aquino, Jillian Gordon, Tung Nguyen, and Heena Kim. Photo: To Be In Pictures.

The Tomato | March April 2013 5


Baja

Jack Danylchuk

Todos Santos

Oasis of Fresh

6 March MarchApril April2013 2013 || The TheTomato Tomato

Top: lush basil fields; left: McCandless Knuteson Sutton; (Mac) stands ready to welcome guests at La Bodega; centre: Suki and Matt Knoke in their garden restaurant Suki's; right: Todos Santos partriarch Enzio Columbo. Photos: Jack Danylchuk.


A blues band tuned up

as the winter sun spilled its last golden rays over Todos Santos. The man with a name like a law firm set out tables and chairs for Flite Night at La Bodega, one of two that McCandless Knuteson Sutton offers every week for those who want to taste what the recent buzz from Mexican wine producers is all about. Known to all as Mac, Sutton is one of the latest additions — only the tequila distillery that just opened next door is newer — to an eclectic culinary scene that got its start 20 years ago when Enzio Colombo and his wife Paula opened their landmark Café Santa Fe in the oasis* town an hour north of Cabo San Lucas. Sutton cracked a rosé and two reds from the Guadalupe Valley outside of Ensenada, and Suki Knoke dropped in with a tray of snacks: sushi with asparagus and shrimp from the restaurant she and her partner Matt run from a kitchen and dining room surrounded by a lush tropical garden. One bite of Suki’s sushi revealed what is special about food in Todos Santos: it shouts fresh — vegetables, greens and herbs harvested that day from fields that surround the oasis; meat and poultry raised on ranches in the mountains that rise from the desert just east of town; seafood from the Pacific that thunders onto sandy beaches a mile to the west. The bounty has gathered a small army of culinary artists. Expat Americans, Italians, Canadians, and migrants from mainland Mexico have refashioned Todos Santos as the cultural and culinary centre of Baja California’s cape region. “There was nothing here,” the burly Enzio said, recalling his early days in Todos Santos. “We drove to Los Angeles for cheese and olive oil. It was hard to find even a head of lettuce. They had never seen Italian basil. It grows incredibly well here — like magic. And the flavour, you can taste the soil that is not tired from years of growing.” The basil idea caught on with commercial growers and food exporters. Todos Santos and the south cape are a major source of winter produce consumed in

Western Canada. When the harvest is on, the night air is fragrant with thyme, rosemary, sage and basil. That freshness is the key to Colombo’s “simple, always simple, clean food.” Todos Santos has changed greatly since Café Santa Fe opened, but the food, waiters and cooks are familiar to anyone who has dined there in the last 20 years. The staff, trained by Colombo, has been there from the beginning. They are as familiar as the lead menu items: lobster ravioli, marlin carpacio, grilled sierra, ensalata capressi. If Café Santa Fe has the familiarity of an old friend, Tre Galline changes daily. Every meal opens with some small surprise, a perfect cube of eggplant sliced paper thin and caught in a glaze of tomato coulis; what looks like a tamale, tied with a wisp of corn husk, is whipped potato in an envelope of hand-rolled pasta. Italian restaurateurs Angelo Dal Bon and Magda Valpian came to Todos Santos in 2006. Both come from families with generations in the restaurant business, and Angelo was one of the signatories to the Slow Food manifesto signed in Paris in 1985. “We wanted to offer a true Italian cuisine, without any compromise,” said Angelo, “so we try to do everything at home, as my grandmother did 50 years ago: pasta, bread, salumi, ham, bresaola, ricotta, mascarpone. The only products that are irreplaceable are the pillars of Italian cuisine, olive oil and Parmigiano. Those we import.”

of the world makes excellent products, but far from real wine. I call them Hollywood wines, that show great fruit, power, and alcohol, but are without finesse, and above all, without the characteristics given by terroir.” Sutton is undaunted. From less than a handful of producers a decade ago, and wine with a reputation for the flavour of sunbaked prune juice, the Baja wine industry has grown to 50 small producers who turn out anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand cases a year. “Harvest by harvest, quality improves as the industry expands,” he says. Perhaps more appropriately, the wines have found homes in Vin Santo, a bistro tucked into a corner of the Hotel California, and Rancho Pescadero, a beachfront hotel that recalls Baja’s earliest days as a tourist destination, when private planes brought Hollywood names to small, exclusive resorts. Chef Danny Lamot moved from Calgary, where he ran the Latinfusion restaurant Mescalero, to Todos Santos to manage the kitchen at Hotel California a decade ago. Two years ago he opened Vin Santo, a bistro that pairs tartare of Sonora beef with a robust syrah from Santo Thomas. “Here we have fresh, tree-ripened star fruit, mangos and lichees. There simply is no equivalent in Canada,” says Lamot.

There are no Mexican wines on the lists at Tre Galline and Café Santa Fe. Colombo says simply that he can offer diners Italian, French and Spanish wines of better quality for less money. Dal Bon goes further.

The traditional flavours of Mexico — chile, beans, corn, tomato aren’t easily paired with wine, but at Rancho Pescadero, chef Rodrigo Bueno orchestrates subtle compromises while avoiding the standards of tourist fare: fajitas, quesadillas and burritos slathered with bland melted cheese.

“I believe that only Italy and France make true wine. The rest

The objective is to experience the real flavours of Mexico, and some

of the unusual, said Bueno: toasted grasshoppers and gusano worms, with their nutty flavour and crunchy texture, huitlacoche, the subtle mushroom that grows on corn; favourites from Baja ranches — empanadas filled with stewed beef, tamales wrapped in banana leaf with a spicy chocolate filling and always, fresh produce from the hotel garden. “Every night we go around the world with one dinner special, curries, tacos al pastor, couscous, foie gras, paella, Bajamian peas and rice, and we try to never make the same again,” said Bueno, “but we always make Mexican food to be at least 70 per cent of our menu.” *It is an actual oasis. It’s an old sugar plantation town that went into decline when the price of sugar fell; almost coincidentally, the aquifer that irrigated the town dried up. It reappeared, just as mysteriously, in the early 80s when some canny Americans (women!) found it and put some $$$ down. In 2006, it was given “pueblo magico” status by the federal government, along with many other communities scattered across the country, which put it in line for infrastructure grants to make new sidewalks, bury power lines and build sewer and water lines to unserviced barrios. That brought in lots of investment dollars which produced a couple of new hotels — Guyacura, Casa Tota — and hectarios of unused retail space. Yes, it is magical and it is a true oasis in the middle of a desert that is greened by water from the aquifer. Jack Danylchuk first saw Baja's south cape in 1972, the year the paved highway from Tijuana to San Jose was completed, setting off 40 years of rampant development. He has visited Todos Santos once a year for the last 20, and watched the evolution of a food culture defined by freshness.

The Tomato | March April 2013 7


Some Ruminations on

Class, Food & Great Divides, including mentions of

Lord Black,

Timbits &

Bronx Grapes karen virag

Sorry, people, but despite what you might have heard to the contrary, a banana is never just a banana. I say this because we are constantly interpreting the world — everything we do, say, wear and eat reveals something about us. In his book Everybody Eats, food anthropologist E. N. Anderson tell us that in medieval England, one of the original duties of the coroner was to ensure

8 March April 2013 | The Tomato

that people did not eat the porpoises or sturgeons they caught — such creatures were reserved for the royal court. Today, even if porpoises are off the menu and the coroner is no longer responsible for monitoring fishermen’s catches, food, with all its moral, cultural, political and religious overtones, is still an important signifier of one’s social class. But what do we mean by class? In the absence of a North American aristocracy (with apologies to Lord Black) one definition of class is that it is an economic category. Many

studies have found a correlation between poverty and poor eating habits, but such a superior statement insults vast swathes of people and smacks too much of middle-class smugness for my liking. Besides, not every poor person shamelessly washes down buckets of KFC with Coke every day. One of my friends told me that during the poorest period of her life (she went back to university in her thirties to complete a master’s and had a yearly income of around $19,000), she and her daughter ate fairly well. Here’s why — she was an adept cook who knew that

cheaper cuts of meat are delicious if prepared properly, and dried beans are tasty and nutritious. But here’s the rub — you need time to prepare such foods, and with a grad student’s timetable, she had it. These days, technology has increased the pace of life to an almost unbearable degree. Many people work several jobs to survive, and lots of us, poor or not, drive around every night delivering our oversubscribed children to yet another lesson or club. It is estimated that about 20 per cent of meals eaten in North America are consumed in the car. No matter what class you hail from, who has time to eat, let alone cook? Hey, Michelina! Not all societies have statusbased food distinctions in eating habits. Stanley Mintz, a noted food anthropologist, observed that in China, “there is a remarkable constancy from top to bottom of the society in regard to the agreed-upon ways to produce good food, and about the patterned relationships among foods.” In contrast, our country has many status-based food distinctions. Think of the difference in register between lobster and Salisbury steak, braised radicchio and Cheez Whiz-stuffed celery, Miss Vickie’s kettle-cooked, hand-selected potato chips and Old Dutch. Of course, factors other than economics affect food consumption: geography; ethnicity; the disconnect of our highly urban society from where food actually comes from; and loss of knowledge — unless they are maintained and passed on, cultural habits fade into history. A friend in his forties once asked me how to cook a potato. Another friend, who works in a provincial ministry, tells me that her younger colleagues never bring lunch to work because they don’t know how to cook; instead, they go to fast-food restaurants. And given that sales of fast food in Canada are expected to reach $23.6 billion by 2016, it is obviously not just the poor who are buying Big Macs and Whoppers. As for my very middle-class workplace, many of my colleagues bring frozen microwavable meals for lunch. StatsCan reports


that in 2010 Canada’s frozen food industry had revenues of $3 billion. Hey, Michelina, that’s a lot of dough! Perhaps the most influential factor in consumption patterns, though, is the tsunami of advertising that comes at us from every screen, every publication and the uniform of every professional athlete in the land. Food ads feed us endless images of the wonders of heavily processed foods, full of unpronounceable ingredients, ready to be rapturously consumed by beautiful, slim people. A recent Stanford University study on the language of food advertising found that companies tailor their message to their intended market. Ads for the upper and middle class stress a food’s “naturalness”; ads for the working class stress tradition and family. And give yourselves three lashes with a wet noodle if you think you’re not affected by advertising — corporations don’t spend $3.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial because advertising doesn’t work. Do they grow grapes in the Bronx?

Another great divide complicates traditional class-based food consumption patterns — average Joes and Josephines versus food snobs. A recent Boston Pizza TV commercial, which plays with this concept, shows three men seated in a booth. One remarks that his “pulled pork penne is divine.” His use of the word “divine” surprises his friends, but they are even more surprised when he suddenly sprouts a suit jacket, bow tie and dark glasses. The voiceover then tells the viewer to love their Boston Pizza pasta, “just be careful not to become a foodie!” The word foodie is pronounced with a particularly contemptuous sneer. According to the commercial, then, Boston Pizza is for ordinary people but its fare is good enough to be appreciated by a bow-tied food snob, which is not a good thing to be. It’s hard to disagree when you hear about foodie groups that, say, consume endangered species, like ortolans, songbirds fattened in dark boxes. Such abominable behaviour makes consumption more fetish than

food. Fortunately, such practices are rare. Instead, one is more likely to encounter a more mundane kind of foodie-ism, like that of an effete snob who wouldn’t be caught dead eating a Timbit, lest he pollute his holy interior. This kind of food elitism was summed up by the chef and über foodie Alice Waters in a 60 Minutes episode, in which she is cited as saying: “Some people want to buy Nikes, two pairs. And some people want to eat Bronx grapes and nourish themselves.” It’s obnoxious statements like this that give those of us interested in food a bad name. Such sanctimony! Besides, Alice, it’s just not that simple — many families have to choose between eating and not eating. One in ten kids lives in poverty in wealthy Alberta; about one-third of them have one or both parents who work full-time. They are not choosing between brands of expensive running shoes, but between eating and not eating. I imagine they would be happy to feed their children any grapes, let alone a Bronx grape (whatever that is). Class acts You might think we eat food but really we eat our history, geography and social class at every meal — those things shouldn’t be laden with pesticides and additives. So what can we do? Vote for politicians who espouse wise policies on food safety and land use; teach our kids how to cook; read labels; try to eat local; be skeptical about advertising. What we mustn’t do is become insufferable snobs who will, say, eat only almonds that have been shelled between the downy thighs of vestal virgins. We are all in this together, folks, so this also means not turning up our noses at the contents of other people’s grocery carts. I can’t believe he’s buying frozen pizza! Look at all that pop she’s buying — no wonder her kid is screaming! Haven’t those people heard of roughage? In other words, let’s have a little class.

Bison burger... with the works?

Whatever you’re having... We’ve Got a Wine for That!

West Edmonton Mall • Entrance 58

@Aligrawine

780.483.103 • www.aligrawineandspirits.com

facebook.com/aligrawine

Matahari

A PA N - A S I A N D I N I N G E X P E R I E N C E

Dining, Takeout, Catering & Special Events 10108B – 124 Street • 452-8262

Ample free parking at rear with rear entrance available. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday, hours vary.

Call her what you like, but Edmonton writer Karen Virag actually prefers Old Dutch potato chips to Miss Vickies.

The Tomato | March April 2013 9


Sichuan

Harold Wollin and Craig Peterson

Into the

Hot Pot Dragon with the

My chopsticks prod the chilired maelstrom in yet another feeble attempt to gain purchase on a slippery dumpling. The morsel spins free and plops back into its fiery vat. I’m no Shaolin monk that can pluck mosquitoes out of the air, but I can use chopsticks. Here in China, I am a noob. “You need help?” Jasmine grins gleefully. “I help you!”

Her chopsticks dart into the roiling liquid and snatch a quivering span of tripe. Twirling away the excess liquid, she places it into my bowl. Her chopsticks are wet barely an inch from the tip. Mine are slick with oil, and increasingly useless in my hands. Laughing, she summons one of the impeccably dressed servers, and demands a new set for me. Like a Quixote without a Panza, I’m lost without Jasmine. Yesterday, she welcomed me to the Traffic Inn hostel, her English more fluid than fluent. Today she has agreed to be my guiding light on this culinary quest in Sichuan. We are in an opulent, gilded restaurant to savour the essential Sichuan experience — hot pot. The centre of our table houses an impressive giant copper cauldron, brimming with what appears to be a lake of red oil, afloat with a log boom of chilies. A man arrives to ignite the powerful gas burners under the table. The chilies begin to dance as the surface rolls. The servers present a magnificent array of plates, bowls, teapots, cups, colour-coded chopsticks and glasses on the table. Then, any free real estate is quickly taken up by a multitude of raw ingredients: beef slices, tripe, fatty, bacon-like yak brisket, white and dark pork meatballs, fish balls, goose intestines, tofu skin, beans, asparagus, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts. There are three obviously different dumplings, potato slices, another yam-like tuber, and at least four kinds of green leafy things that I can’t identify. I do though recognize enoki among the mushrooms. Gold brocade napkins are tied around our necks.

10 March April 2013 | The Tomato

“Now we eat!” Jasmine gleefully pulls the top from an innocuous, but brightly-coloured pull-top can, and pours the contents into a bowl. She spoons in an impressive amount of crushed garlic, cilantro and dark vinegar. I follow suit. It is sesame oil.

“More oil?” I ask, looking askance at the thick red oil in the hot pot. Jasmine shrugs, “Sesame oil — different taste!" She describes the intensely savoury, rich and, yes, very oily broth. “I’m no cook, but I know first you wake up chili and hwai jao* in a wok with oil and chili-bean paste. When oil is red, put soup and lots of ginger and the kind of spice you like. This place has best flavour, OK?” Individually and with precision, she fires all the ingredients into the hot pot, announcing when each is ready to eat. “You like tripe? Ready now!” I take up my new chopsticks and draw something from the pot. I wedge the wad into my mouth. Turns out to be ginger, yet I chew with bovine determination until it is a fibrous mass and impossible to swallow. I pull the brocade napkin to my mouth. “No!” Jasmine cries, dealing out leaves of tissue. "Use paper." I may be losing face, but I’m learning. First lesson: do not eat the flavouring ingredients. Next lesson: after tonguing, exploring and chewing to extract every bit of flavour, texture and food value out of an ingredient, it is acceptable to spit what's left onto the table or floor. In this high-end restaurant, tissues and a small plate are provided, as the gold brocade napkin is just so much luxury lingerie. Still wary of the slippery dumpling, I choose a less challenging meatball. After three tries I manage to snag one. Afraid to lose purchase, I skip the


Self-described pepperhead Harold Wollin digs in. Photo Harold Wollin.

dip, and pop it smartly into my mouth, straight from its bath of boiling oil. Last lesson: the sesame oil dip cools the food. Several swigs of beer help but another flame flares up as my teeth crunch on something seedlike. It must be chili!

Today, in Chengdu, it begins again. With a bite into the authentic Sichuan, the gustatory mantra of my culinary journey takes on new meaning. With confidence, I grab my chopsticks and deftly pull a dumpling from the hotpot.

I'm on familiar ground now. My mouth is deliciously on fire, until a wasp-angry buzz awakens and my entire mouth fluoresces with a salty, citrus taste, and, thuddenly, my ho mowf gothes numb.

*Hwai jao (flower pepper) is also known as huajiao, Sichuan pepper, Szechwan pepper or Szechuan pepper. The genus is part of the citrus family and not closely related to either black or chili pepper. It’s also known as the aromatic peppercorn, xiangjiao-zi or qing-hua-jiao. Thanks Wikipedia! — Ed.

Oh, oh Toto. We’re not in Edmonton any more. “Hwai jao!” Jasmine laughs, “You like?” Yes. Despite red eyes and tears, I like. This tangynumbing, fizzy-electric, mouth-buzz is Sichuan pepper, the most amazing thing that has ever happened on my palate. This sensation is not measurable on Scoville, and has nothing to do with the genus Capiscum or Piper Nigrum.

“Like a Quixote without a Panza, I’m lost without Jasmine.”

I drift back to the ‘70s and the Happy Garden** restaurant in Parkallen. Sui To’s little restaurant called me to my career with a siren song from far beyond my neighborhood. With a fiery promise of culinary possibility, it put chopsticks into my hands, and set me upon a quest that culminated here, almost 40 years later.

**Sui To Not only did Sui To’s Happy Garden make lifelong Sichuan pepperheads out of several generations of Edmontonians, we can thank him for the popularization of the green onion cake as an Edmonton festival staple. Sui To’s latest restaurant, The Noodlemaker, closed last year, much to the dismay of said pepperheads. — Ed.

Harold Wollin, proprietor of the Blue Chair Café, was once a cub journalist, and spent the early part of his career cooking on the high seas. Craig Peterson, once a culinary protégé of Harolds at the Highlands Golf Club, is now a professor of English Literature, U of A, Augustana Campus.

The Tomato | March April 2013 11


THINGS TO EAT OR DRINK

IN EDMONTON

It’s done. The notes read, the obscure sought out for a taste test, the votes tabulated; you have chosen the Top 100 best things to eat in Edmonton. Thank you to all who voted, campaigned for their favourites, and entered the debate with a sense of fun and discovery. It’s been a pleasure. To those nominated; long may you prosper. Remembrance of dishes past: There were votes for the Carvery’s black bean soup, Pharo’s pizza, and the delicious and long-lamented stuffed radicchio from Il Portico. 12 March MarchApril April2013 2013 || The TheTomato Tomato

A

Thorhild

reader

reminisced

about her family’s buckwheat pie, an essential element of Alberta’s culinary history.

Here is the Top 25. Find the full

Top 100 at the thetomato.ca. We hope this list encourages you to drive across town to try something

new, to check out the fabulous purveyors

at

our

wonderful

farmers’ markets, and to visit your favourites again and again.

Prizes? Yes! Yes! Prize draws start March 20.


25. Chicken balls at Lee House. 24. Potato-crusted fish and chips from Madison’s Grill in the Union Bank inn, “especially with the garlic aioli,” said one email. 23. Wild Tangerine’s frog legs. Actually, pretty much anything cooked by Judy Wu. 22. The carbonara at Cafe de Ville. 21. Cafe Leva’s mushroom pizza. 20. Nineteen has vocal supporters already, especially for the ahi tuna twist appetizer. Other faves: chef Andrew Fung’s tender sous vide pork rack and the deeply flavoured lamb shanks, a perfect winter dish. 19. The Feta-terranean (grilled peppers with feta cheese and a frisky balsamic dressing) at The Hardware Grill is a menu classic with ardent fans. Also the liver and onions; somehow Hardware’s talented kitchen makes liver taste good. 18. We love our sweets, with several cookies in the Top 100. The Dauphine Bakery’s elegant reinvention of the peanut butter cookie takes it from after school staple to Paris café delicacy — luscious peanut butter cream between two crisp and nutty sable cookies. Also mentioned: lemon tart, almond tart, rochers, and their tasty sunflower bread. 17. The brand new B.C. import De Dutch garnered several votes for their pannekoek, the plate-covering Dutch pancake, rich and eggy with a depth of flavour provided by a whisper of buckwheat in the mix. It’s hard to find behind the Jasper Avenue construction but worth the search. 16. Bonjour Boulangerie/ Treestone Bakery has ardent fans especially of their rustic loaves (or large bun, which is how Drift food truck treats them, wrapping the crispy-crusted bread around their terrifically juicy buttermilk fried chicken).

From top: Gino Marghella and Teresa Spinelli at the deli at the Italian Centre; the Duchess Bake Shop’s sour cherry pie; Evelyn Dickout and her popular butter tarts. Photos To Be In Pictures and Mary Bailey.

15. The cinnamon bun, lamb burger, and chicken and waffles at the Sugarbowl Café. The beer list gets an honourable mention for being fabulous and the first in town to really pay attention to beer. 14. How to pick a favourite at the Duchess Bake Shop? Many tried: Paris Brest, the Duke, macaron, their toothsome quiche, the Gruyere croissant. We narrowed it down to their incredible fruit pies, especially the sour cherry, with its perfect ratio of crust to juicy, not too sweet, fruit filling. 13. Wor tip beef dumplings at Shanghai 456, aka the canteen of the Edmonton Flying Club. 12. At the Gramma Bears Home Baking stand in the Old Strathcona market the butter tarts always sell out before noon. Take a few minutes to chat with Evelyn Dickout and her husband Harold and pick up a couple of frozen pies too, we recommend the pumpkin. 11. The double caraway rye and the challah were both mentioned as favourite breads at the Bon Ton Bakery. Scandinavian flavours such as caraway are on trend, and this loaf is fragrant with a deliciously chewy texture, excellent toasted. Available Friday/ Saturday only. 10. Moriarty’s delicious and inventive charcuterie boards, with house-made spreads, interesting salumi and a good selection of cheeses, especially pre- and postCitadel. 9. Beloved of football fans, firemen and Tomato readers, the foot-long Spinelli’s original sandwich from the Italian Centre Shop involves layers of Italian-style deli meats, provolone, Gloria spread, olive oil and dried oregano. Also in the running were the prima donna and smoked mozzarella cheeses. 8. Canteen has been busy from the get-go turning out delicious plates with aplomb, notwithstanding the fact they have only been open for about three months. The bench strength in the kitchen is considerable, and the Moroccan lamb chops spectacular — proving once again that simple isn’t easy. Please see “Top 100” on page 29

The Tomato | March April 2013 13


Puglia

Mary Bailey

Teresa A few years ago, I attended Cibus, a specialty food show in Parma, with Teresa Spinelli of the Italian Centre and some of the managers. An Italian food show is really like no other, with an espresso stand every 20 metres, and every variety of ham, coffee, olive oil, cheese, and cookies taking up most of the real estate. While there we stumbled upon the Pellegrino booth, tasted the oil, liked it, and most importantly, liked them, Maria Teresa and her brother Elia. Fast forward to another trip, this one to San Pietro al Tanagro in Campania (for Teresa’s big birthday celebration) with a side trip to Puglia to see the Pellegrinos, a family with deep roots in agriculture. Their ancestors had bought the Masseria la Spineta, with 138 hectares in olive trees, in 1929. Now they farm 23,000 olive trees, mostly Coratina, with

14 March April 2013 | The Tomato

and the

10 per cent Ogliarola Barese, Peranzana, and Caroleao, each variety bringing different flavour characteristics to their oils. Grown at 250 metres above sea level, the fruit is ideal for highquality oil. Think of extra virgin olive oil as a selection. The same way wineries select their best fruit for top-quality bottlings, the best oil is selected to become extra virgin. It is regulated; the oil has to pass a sensory test and be under a certain level of acidity. Add in other regulations such as the actual location of the trees, organic certifications etc. and you have detailed information

Olive Tree as to where the oil is actually from and its quality level.

almond flavour as the oil matures — excellent for finishing, salads and pizza.

The Pellegrinos make their oil in a straightforward process, combining both ancient — grinding the olives into paste between massive pink granite stones, and modern — cold centrifuge and aseptic bottling techniques.

Petraia Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP Terra di Bari is selected from a special parcel, 30 hectares in the heart of la Spineta, from primarily ancient Coratina. A vivid green with golden hues, intensely herbal, with a bitter artichoke finish. Use on salads or as a finishing oil.

Teresa chose four oils:

Olio Novello blends bitter/ spicy Coratina with the sweeter Beranzana variety and is probably the oil that tastes most like olives. It’s made from the first olives to ripen in November — its fresh intensity is well-suited to beans, soups and salumi.

La Spineta Extra Virgin DOP Terra di Bari is made from Coratina olives grown at La Spineta, between the Adriatic sea and Murgia, northwest of Andria. Golden yellow with green glints, intensely fruity when young, developing a sweet

Cru is an extra virgin novello oil in an attractive smaller bottle.


orecchiette with rapini Rapini was readily available in Puglia in late September and every day brought another rendition of orecchiette with rapini — sometimes slow cooked until the rapini almost melted into the pasta, sometimes as a pasta you could make for a quick meal. Maria Teresa took us to a portside place in Trani where it was served in the quicker, just-cooked style, so fresh and delicious, like this. 500g orecchiette (or follow package directions for four people) 1-2 bunches rapini 2

pepperoncini (to taste)

3 cloves

garlic

sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper Trim the rapini of tough ends and wilted leaves. Wash carefully, as rapini can be gritty, but do not dry. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta. Cook to al dente, then drain, reserving some cooking water. Heat the garlic in the pan until fragrant. Add the rapini to the pan and sauté until wilted, while the pasta is boiling. Remove the garlic, then toss rapini with the hot pasta, over heat, adding a little cooking water to create a sauce. Add the pepperoncini if using, grate over ricotta salata or pecorino and serve immediately. Serves 4 as a first course.

cavatelli with beef roll-ups This simplified version of a classic Italian dish is adapted from The Puglian Cookbook, Bringing the Flavors of Pulgia Home, by Viktorija Todorovska. I met Viktorija on a French Wine Academy study trip to the Rhone Valley a few years ago. Viktorija, who lives and teaches wine and cooking in Chicago, had just finished the manuscript. I was thrilled to see her book listed on Amazon the next year. It captures the essential flavours, and also the ease, of Pugliese cooking. ½ lb

sirloin

½ c

grated pecorino cheese

4 cloves

garlic peeled, sliced thin

4 T

olive oil

2 c (½ kilo) grano di arso (or follow package directions for four people)

2 c

red wine

3-5

young zucchini

1 can

(28 oz) tomatoes, chopped

2 cloves

garlic

aged ricotta

extra virgin olive oil

salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste

Thinly slice beef into four pieces and pound to about 1/8 inch thick (or have the butcher do this). Evenly divide the cheese, garlic and parsley among the sirloin pieces, leaving a border of about ½ inch. Roll up the slices and tie with kitchen string or secure with a toothpick. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef rolls evenly, about 6 minutes. Add wine and cook over high heat until the wine begins to evaporate. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low and cook for about two hours. Check seasoning and remove string or toothpicks before serving. In a large pot, boil 4 litres of water. Salt generously, add the cavatelli and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Toss the pasta with the sauce and add more cheese if desired.

orecchiette di grano arso con cime di zucchine Burnt Wheat Orecchiette Pasta with Garlic and Zucchini Tops Another specialty of Puglia is grano arso, or burnt wheat. If refers to the grains of wheat that would be left in the field, which would be scavenged later, often when it was dried or burnt by the sun. It is often available at the Italian Centre as a flour or a ready-made pasta. It has a delicious roasted flavour, which suits greens. Why would someone make pasta with only the leaves and tops of zucchini? It’s about using every edible bit. Grow zucchini, harvest some young and use the greens and tops in a delicious pasta. Another tip: cook the garlic carefully, so it browns into nutty bits of roasted garlic savouriness. Garlic burns easily, becoming very bitter. Alternatively, roast the garlic and add as a purée near the end. You won’t have the crunch of the little roasted garlic bits, but you will have the rich, roasted garlic flavour. Adapted from Puglia in Cucina (2011, Sime Books).

Clean the zucchini, choosing most tender tops and smallest leaves. Cook in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. When cooked, place the pasta in the same pot. While the pasta cooks, fry the garlic in oil until soft and browned.

especially if you add roasted, pitted black olives, a drizzle of fruity Puglian oil and a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.)

greens 1 lb mixed greens, dandelion, arugula, chicory, Swiss chard 1 T + ½ t salt 2 T extra virgin olive oil (to cook garlic and greens) 2 cloves

garlic, peeled

½ c

cool water

¼ c extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle)

When the orecchiette are almost cooked, drain everything and sauté well in pan with the garlic and oil until an almost-cream forms. Serve with grated, aged ricotta (ricotta salata). Serves 4.

Wash and sort the greens, removing tough stems. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, drain and set aside. Do not squeeze dry.

purée di fave e cicoria

Warm the olive oil with the garlic in a deep, wide skillet on medium. When the garlic releases aroma, add the greens with whatever water as collected.

Fava Bean Puree with Wilted Wild Greens This dish is made from two staples found in the region, fava beans and wild chicory. This bitter green is rarely found in our markets; make with rapini, kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens or a mixture of all instead. Resist the urge to steam or cook the leaves and tops al dente, as the long cooking ‘melts’ the greens into sauce. Adaped from Puglia in Cucina (2011, Sime Books).

fava bean puree 500 g (approx ½ pound) dried fava beans, preferably Italian, peeled 1 med.

carrot

1 stalk

celery

1 sml

potato, peeled

handful Italian parsley, trimmed

sea salt and white pepper

Boil all but the potato gently in water until the beans are soft, approximately two hours. Skim off foam that rises to the surface. Add the potato about halfway through the cooking time. Cool in the cooking water, then mash or press through a purée sieve. The texture should be similar to polenta — creamy, not runny. Reserve some of the cooking water in case you need to add for the right texture. Reserve. (Can be used to sauce orecchiette as well,

Cook the greens for 30 minutes, adding water as needed to prevent the greens from sticking. Uncover, season if necessary, and discard the garlic. To serve: Place purée and greens beside each other and drizzle with more oil. Drizzle the fava bean purée and the greens with the olive oil. Enjoy hot. Serves 4 as a first course.

tiella This mussel and potato recipe is adapted from The Puglian Cookbook, Bringing the Flavors of Pulgia Home, by Viktorija Todorovska. Her intro to this recipe tells the story of asking the restaurant owner how to make it. “‘It’s just potatoes and mussels’ she shrugged.” Sure, easy for her to say. But as Victorija tells it, it is actually very easy to make. The dish is also called taiedda; some recipes for the coastal specialty call for zucchini, don’t use rice and don’t cook or shell the mussels first. 1 lb

mussels

1 c

dry white wine

1 lg yellow onion, peeled and sliced Please see “Olive Tree” on page 31

The Tomato | March April 2013 15


wine maven revive after being cut back, and large trial plantings take several vintages before showing quality fruit.

A Canadian Epic

of Food and Wine

join edmonton’s top chefs, distinctive Alberta food producers, and the best VQA wineries in Canada at Indulgence13, Monday, June 11 at the Delta Edmonton South. Tickets are $60, available after May 1 from the Junior League of Edmonton. Visit indulgenceedmonton.ca for more information. A Canadian Epic of Food and

wirra’s wirra’s popular scrubby rise sports a whimsical new label, by Australian contemporary artist Andrew Baines, known for surrealist Rene Magritteinspired installations of men in suits and bowler hats on Aussie beaches. The wines are similarly light-hearted. The Scrubby Rise white is a pale straw colour with appealing gooseberry, lime, tropical fruit and orange blossom aromas. Crisp, light, and easy-going, this could become a fridge door wine, ready to be opened for a glass while cooking dinner or when neighbours drop by. The fruit is sourced from the Fleurieu, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale regions — mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, with a bit of Viognier, responsible for the lovely florals. Scrubby Rise Red is a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend with a smidge of Petit Verdot contributing subtle violet aromas. Attractive white pepper, red fruit and some attractive leafy notes keep the wine’s nose fresh and vibrant. Mediumbodied, with a soft texture and just enough acidity to keep things interesting. Drink with casual foods or on its own, it’s a versatile wine.

the edmonton jazz Society offers the popular fundraiser Taste of Argentina sometime in early May. Enjoy fabulous Malbecs, Shiraz and Cabernet from producers such as Luigi Bosca along with entertainment, silent auction, lots of good stuff. Visit tixonthesquare.ca or edmontonjazz.com for ticket info. 16 March April 2013 | The Tomato

there is history in a bottle of wynns. “Wynns has the largest holdings of Coonawarra vineyards on the Riddoch estate,” says Sue Hodder, Wine winemaker. “John Riddoch was a visionary. He was the first to recognize the quality of the soil for grapes and planted vines on the best sites. He built the (now iconic Coonawarra landmark) railway siding to bring the products to market.” Her inspiration? “The wines made in the 1960s. When we tasted the 50 year lineup of Black Label Cabernet those were the wines that stood out — medium bodied, with fresh bright fruit. The wines of the ‘70s and ‘80s were too light. What we look for is moderate alcohol, ripe flavours, more supple tannins. We don’t want (and our vineyards don’t produce) hotness or pruniness.” In order to achieve that year after year, Wynns has embarked on a major vineyard overhaul— replacing broken down trellises, cutting back dead wood, and taking out non-productive vines, then replanting with more appropriate root stocks and clones. It’s not work for those in a hurry. It takes a while for a vine to

Is there a burden of history? Sue takes a long-term view. “I see myself as a custodian. I have to make sure that the Sue Hodder era will be as good as the ‘60s and the ‘90s.” Wynns Black Label Cab (the most collected wine in Australia) is great value, easily found under $25. The 2007 has a graceful maturity with savoury black fruit flavours. John Riddoch Cab, always elegant and longlived, is made from a selection of the best fruit in excellent vintages. The 2006, available in some stores, displays an attractive tension with firm tannins, floral aromas and lovely dark fruit flavours. The 2008, slightly fuller, reflecting the warmer vintage, possesses spicy flavours of dark cherry and blackcurrant, with a woodsy, cedary background surrounded by velvety tannins.

michel green of wineboy imports has brought in the oil and honey from Il Palagio, Sting’s estate near Florence. The oil is certified organic, extra virgin, and pretty tasty— a typically soft Tuscan oil with a sweet aftertaste, ideal with white beans or braised greens. The certified organic chestnut honey (miele di castagna) is a russety-red colour with the robust flavour (similar to Alberta’s buckwheat honey) chestnut honey is known for. Drizzle over a wedge of Parmigiano or the Cheesiry’s aged pecorino. The estate is best known for a terrific Chianti called When We Dance and an IGT bottling, Sister Moon. Is a grappa named Roxanne in the works?


event calendar march 1-2

thursday, april 4

The Grape Escape Wine, Spirits & Beer Festival, coopwinespiritsbeer.com

Frank Family Vineyards Wine & Beyond Windermere Education Center, 780-439-5130

monday, march 4

tuesday, april 9

Wine 201 Wine Fundamentals aligrawineandspirits.com/events

tuesday, march 12 French Wine Series Tastings Right Bank Bordeaux, Crestwood Wine Shop, 780-488-7800.

tuesday, march 12

Accidental Sommelier Series Even Weirder Whites, Unwined 780-458-4777

tuesday, april 9 French Wine Series Tastings Burgundy, Crestwood Wine Shop 780-488-7800

Pinot Envy aligrawineandspirits.com/events

tuesday, april 9

wednesday, march 13

Stop and Smell the Rose-ehs aligrawineandspirits.com/events

Pierangelo Tommasi, Tommasi Wine & Beyond, Windermere Education Center, 780-439-5130

thursday, march 14 Wine Basics with Sasha McCauley, Wine & Beyond, Windermere Education Center, 780-439-5130

tuesday, march 19 Accidental Sommelier Series, Weird Reds, Unwined, 780-458-4777

wednesday, march 20 Scotland’s Independent, Wine & Beyond Windermere Education Center, 780-439-5130

wednesday, march 20 The Days of Wine and Proses: Laurie Greenwood pairs wines with Like Water for Chocolate, Unwined, 780-458-4777

thursday, march 21 Ingo Grady, Mission Hill , Wine & Beyond, Windermere Education Center, 780-439-5130

saturday, march 23 Wine and Chocolate with Jacek Chocolate Couture, CO-OP MacTaggart Ridge Tasting Centre coopwinespiritsbeer.com

sunday, april 14 Cave Spring Riesling Dinner The Marc, 780-429-2828

wednesday, april 17 Alberta Scotch Society Tasting Unwined, albertascotchsociety.com

thursday, april 18 Grapes Grains and Grub Fundraiser for the Capital Care Foundation grapesgrainsgrub.eventbrite.ca

saturday, april 20 Sorrentino’s Garlic Stomp sorrentinos.com, 780-474-6466

april 25-28 Slow Food National Conference, Osoyoos slowfood.ca or 1-888-755-3480

april 26-27 Edmonton’s International Beerfest internationalbeerfest.com

tuesday, may 7 Stop and Smell the Roses (roseayes). Unwined, 780-458-4777 tickets available at the store.

780.458.4777 • info@unwined.biz www.unwined.biz • 2, 512 St. Albert Trail

The Tomato | March April 2013 17


Italy

Travels with Daniel Corso 32 chef/owner Daniel Costa describes some of his favourite places in Italy for food and family.

Rome.

“I love Rome because there are so many quick pastas, and they all do them in a classic way — it’s not necessarily creative, but they really stick to tradition. The city is fast, the food is fast — not as many longbraised ragus as the small towns in the countryside.

18 March April 2013 | The Tomato


“They’re making a really quick sauce — a little bit of guanciale, a little bit of black pepper, a bit of pecorino (alla romano, hard and salty) — that’s bucatini alla gricia. Add a bit of egg and it becomes carbonara. All the different variations of very simple pastas and they all taste great. “I was in a cab and asked the driver, ‘where’s the best cacio e pepe?’ He got very angry all of a sudden, he wasn’t looking at the road, and went on a rant about how nobody made it the right way anymore. He was waving his hands and saying ‘people put butter in it, when I order cacio e pepe, I want cacio e pepe, not a butter sauce.’ I don’t think he even told us what restaurant to go to after all that. He was so mad. “I’m also obsessed with Fellini and those old ‘60’s films. Being in Rome is like walking around in a museum eating all these amazing pastas.” “Filetti di Baccala is, basically, a little hole-in-the-wall with a sign. They have three things: antipasti, fried zucchini and baccala. You order that with Frascati or a big beer. You can eat inside, but it’s so hot and bright, outside is better — lots of tables in the piazza next to the church or order a piece of baccala to go.

“One thing that everybody should try to experience in Rome is offal, called il quinto quarto (fifth quarter). Rome does these kinds of dishes the best — beef cheeks, spleen, oxtail, tripe. Next time I go, I’ll be looking for a very old dish — rigatoni alla pajata — veal intestines with mother’s milk inside. They are tied and cooked slowly in a tomato sauce, an absolutely beautiful way of using what you have available.” “Gelateria dei Gracchi is the best gelati I’ve ever had. I’m not a big gelati guy but my dad and I had one and we had to go back for another. It’s close to the coliseum — it’s the place to be.”

Cilento Coast.

“My dad and I went to Scario, a small port town down the Amalfi coast about an hour away from my dad’s town.

“They’ve been making baccala since 1901. There are three women in the back working, preparing the fish, pretty much nonnes with their hats on.

“We went to this little restaurant called U Zifaro. It was spring and we were the only people there. “We had a bit of fritto misto, then spaghetti vongole. With that dish, I understood the true al dente. When you eat spaghetti with shellfish there, it’s almost like eating a salad, very fresh flavours. The al dente pasta gives it a bit of a crunch. It was also the first time I tried a really good Falaghina.

“The batter is unbelievable, beautiful soft and silky fish surrounded by a thick and crunchy batter — perfect batter. “It’s a really good Roman experience.”

“There’s a beautiful square in Trastevere. It’s the best place to people watch, with lots of little restaurants. I like to sit at a table outside a bar and bury a couple of Negronis in the afternoon. “People from Trastevere say ‘we are the true Romans, not the people across the river, we’re the originals.’ So passionate, they are talking about 10 minutes away. “My favourite place is Salumeria Roscioli. I’ve been there about five times — it’s the best products in all of Italy crammed in this little place — wine, salumi… “Our best experience so far was downstairs in the wine cellar with Megan and my sister and her husband. We had a tasting of pastas, mortadella with grated grana, prosciutto, agretti in season. There’s a bunch of brothers and many different Roscioli. Il Forno (bakery) is next door to the salumeria, near Campo di Fiori.

“At the end of the meal, the waiter took the money, lit up a cigarette, got on the back of his friend’s Vespa, and drove away. “That was unusual. But, when the cooks came out of the back and we asked them, they laughed and said, ‘he’s the owner!” “Cetara is small fishing port, the town of anchovies, known for colatura di alici. Anchovies are piled inside big vats pressing the juices to make the colatura, essence of anchovies. “There are three amazing restaurants in Cetara. Al Convento is one of these with rustic, quick cooking and bold flavours. Everything was based around anchovies — fried anchovies, anchovy melanzane, octopus salad, marinated anchovies, and a unique pasta, ziti with caramelized onions and tuna, wasn’t expecting that. Continued next page

The Tomato | March April 2013 19


travels with daniel Continued from page 19 “The puttanesca in Campania is so unbelievably salty and briny, with tons of anchovies, olives, tomato, chewy capers — lots of olive oil makes a broth in the bottom of the bowl, with a sparkling Falanghina. There’s no shortage of flavour in every strand of spaghetti.”

San Pietro al Tanagro.

time. ‘No you have to do it like this.’ One would poke, and say, ‘you gotta stop.’ Another would poke, ‘no, it’s not ready.’ Finally, all agreed it was ready, and the bowl went on top. “Then they started to show me how to shape the orecchiette. We made it for 25-30 people. We were all making it together. We also made fusilli (fusiddi in dialect). They each had their own tool — a bicycle spoke, a spoke from a fan, a piece of the umbrella — very much your own thing, as long as it was a nice, thin long piece of metal. It’s a wrist technique, whipping it around to make the pasta shape. “Then cotechino, rolled-up pork skin seasoned with a bit of pecorino, parsley and garlic, slowly poached in a sugo (sauce). We had fried alici. There were whole chickens poaching, to be served with greens from the garden, the poaching broth saved for the next day. Then, a bunch of fruit. Then we made the real zeppole (similar to a sweet fritter). We eat it all in the backyard, followed by homemade nocino (black walnut liqueur). It’s made when the walnuts are green, but not under-ripe. Lemon, pepper, clove, cinnamon, simple syrup. “I have a good recipe from a lady in Castellabate.” Bringing down the Christ

“We went to a goat farm near San Rufo where my grandmother is from. I was going up there because I had said I wanted to learn how to make the cheese from the area, and my zio Carmine (my Italian uncle, we call him Carminuccio, because that’s what my Dad has always called him) said, ‘let’s go up to this agriturismo.’ He had gone to school with the cheesemaker, Giuseppe. (My uncle has all the food connections.) They had a lot of goats. First, they made the big rounds, then ricotta, and while the cheese was forming, Giuseppe said, ‘lets go try some milk.’ “His wife Gina had made a traditional breakfast of zuppe di latte, fresselle with hot goat milk and some coffee poured over. Fresselle is a slowly-roasted dense, hard bread. “Gina gave us the zuppe, then snuck into the other room where she was making the pasta, cavatelli (thumbprint) and orecchiette (ear-shaped). In my dad’s area they make bigger ears than Pugliese-style. “The first time I went to Italy, as a cook, I was 19. I stayed for three months. One time I asked my zio Carminuicco ‘I want to learn to make pasta.’ He said, ‘be at the house at 6am.’ “I had been drinking marsala and Jagermeister in the piazza the night before, so I was happy to see that they have the beautiful Bialetti stove-top coffee-maker steaming on the stove. Everybody already had on their aprons, Carmine’s mother, his mother-in-law and his wife. We were going to make the pasta for a Sunday meal in honour of my dad. They start showing me, first, putting the flour on the board. Each one had their own recipe, so there’s a little bit of back and forth: ‘put in another egg. No, no more eggs.’ “Then they asked me to knead the dough. I wasn’t at the top of my game, and I had to knead the dough for about 30 minutes. They were watching me the whole

20 March April 2013 | The Tomato

“Every single town has their own sacred church on the mountain above the town. On the second Sunday in September it’s a mission to go up the hill to bring down the crucifix. They start early in the morning before daybreak. Then there’s a big festival. The night before there is a walk with the priest and everyone puts their candles in front of their house. “I would climb the mountain a lot when I would spend time in San Pietro Al Tanagro. There are wild boar up there.” Anna Maria Costa “As a child I spent four summers with my grandmother. She called me Daniele mio (my Daniel), I called her nonna. She would make the ravioli, I would observe, I would be with her when she was in the garden. She had a great influence on my family — she was the matriarch. “I still hear so many stories of her doing everything, carrying the big buckets of milk; the ravioli she made were so big you would only need one, with the leftover dough she would make the large orecchiette. My dad had such an appreciation of my grandmother. All of my zias cook amazing food. Zia Lucia makes the best fried potatoes. She also has the same voice as my grandmother.” “The whole town raises everyone, it’s a way of life. When you are doing your tomatoes, everybody’s doing the tomatoes. “These memories, the women with kerchiefs on their heads, doing the tomatoes – that’s the inspiration behind my food.” Find a glossary of Italian food terms at the tomato.ca


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Issue One Hundred • The Travel Issue

Giving Albertans food for thought for 100 issues. From the producers who gave you

Photos clockwise from upper left: Gina and Giuseppe of Agriturismo Erbanito with Daniel and his father Mario; Gina’s freshly made pasta; candles lining a street in San Pietro al Tanagro; bringing down the Christ; Daniel’s nonna Anna Maria Costa. Photos Daniel Costa, Mario Costa

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The Tomato | March April 2013 21


Boulangerie Bonjour

Paysanne is proud to introduce nouvelle baguette

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beer guy

| peter bailey

San Diego Beer Safari I’m a bad dad. My daughter was about to turn 16 and had never been to Disneyland. Lucky for her, I’d heard one of the best beer towns in America is just down the coast from Disneyland: San Diego. Failing to take one’s kids to Disneyland almost constitutes child neglect in Alberta. In my defence, my kids have been to California, but to San Francisco instead of L.A. Really, isn’t Chez Panisse in Berkeley better than Splash Mountain in Anaheim? Northern California gave us the food, wine and microbrew revolutions. Southern California gave us what, the fish taco? But rumours of great beer down south made me reconsider. And so, soon enough there was the beer guy wandering down Main Street, U.S.A. under the sweltering California sun. Here’s the thing: there is no beer in Disneyland. I would have paid anything for a cold pint of Piglet’s Pilsner or Bambi’s Best Bitter. Beerphobic Mickey is indicative of the world outside the park gates, as L.A. is not much of a beer town. When the microbrew revolution erupted up north in the eighties, perhaps Angelenos stuck with chardonnay. In the evening we headed straight for the ocean and into the real-life fantasy land of Newport Beach. Here was the southern California of legend — surf, sand and sun, and finally a cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in my hand. On Balboa Island, we found Bear Flag Fish Company on a side-street. We chose from fresh albacore, ono, ahi, salmon and more at the counter, and friendly surfer dudes grilled up some fabulous fish tacos and burritos. Paired with a Blue Moon witbier from a bucket of ice, and L.A., or more precisely, the O.C., was looking up. From Newport we moved south down the Orange County coast

22 March April 2013 | The Tomato

towards San Diego, guided by simple goals: finding the perfect fish taco, sampling craft beer at every opportunity, and swimming at any beach in the Beach Boys’ Surfing U.S.A. I hit the trifecta at Swami’s Beach, north of La Jolla, with a fantastic fish burrito from a roadside taco shack and a Green Flash West Coast IPA in a water bottle (a subterfuge as beer is banned on SoCal beaches). Arriving at our San Diego hotel at Mission Beach, I went out for pizza. A block from the hotel I walked into Luigi’s, a modest pizza place. I took a seat at the long bar to wait for the pizza and was stunned to see a row of 24 beer taps in front of me, all for San Diego craft beer: Stone, AleSmith, Coronado, Ballast Point, Iron Fist, Karl Strauss, Green Flash and Lost Abbey. I settled in with an Arrogant Bastard Ale and prayed the pizza would take a long, long time to arrive. Happily, Luigi’s was not an anomaly as San Diego is swimming in great craft beer. On our rented pink cruiser bicycles one night, we trekked on the boardwalk to the SD Tap Room in Pacific Beach. There were 44 amazing California beers on tap for me, delicious fish tacos for my long-suffering family. An Edmonton beer geek pal assures me Hamilton’s Tavern, the Blind Lady Ale House, Pizza Port and Neighborhood are just as great. What I liked most about the Tap Room and San Diego in general was the unpretentious, laid-back attitude to craft beer and to life. No wringing of hands, no beer geek angst, just a lot of people enjoying good local beer. Need proof? On our last day we went to San Diego Zoo. Once again there was the beer guy, wandering about in the sweltering California sun. However, unlike Disneyland, at the Zoo even the refreshment carts sold beer — local craft beer on ice. Beervana!


California Six-Pack Except for Green Flash and Coronado, many of the best San Diego beers like Stone, Alesmith or Karl Strauss aren’t available in Alberta. But many other great California beers are available at places like Sherbrooke Liquor, Keg ’n Cork and Wine and Beyond. Below a taste of California, from north to south.

Sherbrooke was Doing Beer Before Beer was Cool

Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout (5.8%), Eureka, CA Founded in 1990, Lost Coast is a unique brewery in the quirky city of Eureka up near the Oregon border. Unique, as it is one of the few female-owned and operated breweries. 8 Ball is a full-bodied oatmeal stout, with chocolate and coffee traces in its roasted malt taste, plus a nice touch of west coast hops.

11819 St Albert Trail 780.455.4556 www.sherbrookeliquor.com

Mendocino Red Tail Ale (6.0%), Ukiah, CA Mendocino was a microbrew pioneer, rising in 1983 from the ashes of the very first American craft brewery, New Albion. Making use of New Albion’s brew equipment, house yeast and even some staff, Mendocino brewed this earthy, fruity amber ale as their first beer, and today it remains a craft beer classic.

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Alt (8.8%) Petaluma, CA

HIDE THEM FROM THE KIDS

A brewery in Napa wine country has to take some chances to compete. Lagunitas pushes the brewing envelope, using nontraditional methods, celebrating happy accidents and making liberal use of hops. This American strong ale is a big bomber of a beer, brimming with citrusy hops and not for the faint-hearted.

Devil’s Canyon California Sunshine Rye IPA (7.1%), Belmont, CA Located in the foggy San Francisco bay area, Devil’s Canyon brewers are cheerfully optimistic calling this beer California Sunshine. Here they tweaked a traditional English IPA by adding rye, making for a balanced but assertively bitter IPA with a unique toasty and bready mouth-feel and taste.

Coronado Islander IPA (7.0%), San Diego, CA Coronado Island is part of San Diego but in a world of its own. So too, Coronado Brewing, one of the brewers like Stone and Green Flash putting San Diego beer on the map but with their own twist. This is a punchy India Pale Ale with the piney-citrusy aroma and bitter taste that IPA fans know and love.

Cucapá La Migra Imperial Stout (8.5%) Mexicali, Mexico During a vacation to Mexico, I asked the bartender if he had any beer other than Corona. “Si Señor” he replied, giving me a Corona Dark. But Mexican craft brewers do exist, and one of the best is in Baja California. This big, robust imperial stout is full of roasty malt taste with a bit of fruit, from piloncillo Mexican candy. Peter Bailey’s next beervana trip is to Portland but he hopes to return to San Diego soon. He tweets as @Libarbarian.

The Tomato | March April 2013 23


2013

Canadian Culinary Championships Chefs gathered from across the country to take part in the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna in early February. Each had taken top spot at their regional Gold Medal Plates (GMP) events. Chef Nathin Bye of Wildflower Grill was Edmonton’s contender, his second time to the national competition. “This year we had no runaway winner and no one fell by the wayside,” says James Chatto, GMP national culinary advisor. “Going into the Grand Finale, half a dozen chefs were in contention for the silver and bronze spots. I was happy to see two dark horses reach the podium — Jamie Stunt and Milton Rebello. It underlines the fact that we have a remarkable depth of culinary talent right across the country. That said, we have a very worthy winner in Marc St. Jacques.” Gold Medal Plates was conceived not just as a chef’s competition, though its role in moving Canadian

gastronomy forward is becoming more evident every year. The combination of chefs, star athletes and Canadian musical talent delivers serious dough, with over $6 million raised for the Canadian Olympic Foundation so far. “I love the way Kelowna has embraced the competition,” says James. “Every event was a sell-out — and it was great to see guests from across the country showing up to support their chefs. We’ve grown remarkably quickly in the last seven years and in the fall we’ll be adding Halifax into the mix.” Edmonton’s 2013 Gold Medal Plates event is on October 24. For information and tickets visit goldmedalplates.com.

James Chatto is the national culinary advisor and head judge for Gold Medal Plates, senior editor of Food & Drink Magazine and online and print editor for Harry magazine.

At top of page: winners on the podium, Jamie Stunt, OZ Kafé, Ottawa (silver); Marc St. Jacques, Auberge du Pommier, Toronto (gold); and Milton Rebello, Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza, Regina (bronze). Photos Brian Chambers.

24 March April 2013 | The Tomato

Gold Marc St. Jacques Auberge du Pommier Toronto Auberge du Pommier, a staid but charming French restaurant in a pretty stone cottage at the north end of Toronto, has long been a fixture in the city, appreciated by patrons as the place to take mother for her birthday and she-whomust-be-obeyed for that important anniversary. Even its current chef, Marc St. Jacques, recalls dining there as a teenager with his parents. St. Jacques left Canada to spend nearly two decades training and cooking in the U.S., where he was instrumental in earning a Michelin star for celebrity chef

Michael Mina’s kitchen at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. When he returned to Hogtown two years ago, he freshened up Auberge's classical French menu with a palate of limpid, vibrant flavours more often associated with Asian cuisine. The combination is now (officially) a winning one: the gold medal at the 2013 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C. For his finale at the three-part competition, he relied on Japanese accents to breathe new life into a French classic, employing roasted meyer lemon curd, snippings of shiso leaves and crunchy sesame tempura as bold counterpoints to an earthy foie gras terrine sandwiched between a correctly dense sesame financier and a glassy soy gelée. “It's got to be yummy,” remarked the slouching 6'5'' giant with an easy smile and casual demeanour that belied the plate’s impressive technique and rigour. And it was. Sasha Chapman is a senior editor at Walrus Magazine and the senior Gold Medal Plates judge for Toronto.


St. Jacques and Regina’s Milton Rebello. You’d simply be brainless not to head to OZ when you find yourself hungry in the nation’s capital. Restaurant critic Anne DesBrisay is the senior Gold Medal Plates judge for Ottawa.

Silver Jamie Stunt OZ Kafé, Ottawa I first walked into OZ in 2007 and thought this place didn’t have a hope. Might as well be in Kansas: too tucked out of sight and with obscure signage that begged the question — what’s an OZ? Then lo and behold, a bearded burly guy whose shirt introduced him as “Dorothy” served me food with a serious wow factor. Six years later the OZ Kafé is firmly embedded in the hearts of a loyal Centretown neighbourhood, has become the darling of the after hours restaurant community, and last weekend at the Canadian Culinary Championships, its young chef Jamie Stunt secured a silver medal. (Meanwhile, back home, a remarkably supportive bunch of Ottawa chefs took over the OZ kitchen, to keep the restaurant open and hopping while Stunt and his team were competing in Kelowna.) News was the queue at Stunt’s competition station was long. The word at the Grande Finale was out: the Ottawa chef was serving beer and yak! Yes, yak. From Tiraislin Farms in the Ottawa Valley. The beer he chose to pair with the beast was from the Ashton Brewing Company: a pale, aromatic beer infused with lemongrass and Kaffir lime. It wound its way admirably into every element of Stunt’s dish — from the perfectly ruby red yak striploin to the tamari sauce fashioned with the beer’s malted wort, to the barley miso mayo, the smoked boar vinaigrette, the quince relish. Stunt remained steadily in second place throughout the three trials of this fundraising competition, to emerge on the podium with Toronto’s Marc

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Bronze Milton Rebello Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza, Regina Regina’s Milton Rebello had his game face on. In the months leading up to Kelowna, he obsessed about earning a spot on the podium. Countless hours were spent researching suppliers, competitors and judges. Possible dishes for the black box competition were scoped out, and he practised and practised his finale dish. But the time paid off. His mystery wine dish — a visually stunning and tasty composed plate of duck three ways was a beautiful match and one of the prettiest of the evening. He admits he wasn’t prepared for the caviar curve ball in the black box. Expecting some sort of fish instead of a small tin of caviar, he rebounded with two plates that kept him in the running. But it was his Grande Finale dish that impressed the judges. The tender Indian spiced lamb chop nestled next to a showy maple leaf-shaped lentil tuile cradling a soft ball of warm goat cheese danced with the See Ya Later Ranch 2010 Pinot Noir. It was a stellar weekend that put Saskatchewan on the culinary map. CJ Katz is the author of Taste, Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table, and senior Gold Medal Plates judge for Saskatchewan.

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The Tomato | March April 2013 25


California

Jennifer Crosby

Festival food served up right. Eating in the forest at Outside Lands 2012

A man with a large cleaver stands in the woods, hacking up a leg of lamb. He looks up from a table full of meat and asks, “Would you like some?” If it is mid-August and you are deep inside the signature park of one of the greatest culinary cities in North America the answer, every time, should be, “Absolutely.” San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival is predominantly known as a music event. The 2012 edition held in Golden Gate Park last August featured acts ranging from Neil Young and Norah Jones to Alabama Shakes. It also surprised and delighted the uninitiated with an equally impressive lineup of food and drink. At first I tried to note the location of particularly alluring offers (surely something called Chicken Yum Yum is worth doubling back for?). But I soon learned food trucks and stalls are tucked in every corner of the festival grounds,

26 March April 2013 | The Tomato

each noshy nook and cranny a whole new discovery. There were fried green tomatoes, bacon-studded hot dogs and barbecued oysters. Empanadas, curried onion rings and root beer floats. Summer staples like burgers, fries and funnel cakes also made an appearance. But burgers are more exception than rule — and no flimsy, additive-filled patties here. Cue the Three Hand Burger made with a bacon and grilled onion-infused patty, served with daikon and cabbage slaw on a bun from a local bakery. Local businesses and unique flavours are on most menus. The philosophy seems to be: do it well, do it deliciously, do it sustainably. Take, for example, the lamb carved in the forest. San Francisco’s The Whole Beast served lamb gyros, mulligatawny stew with lamb, and lamb poutine with sheep’s milk cheese. One part political statement,

one part gourmet — as the name implies, The Whole Beast concentrates on using the entire animal. The Whole Beast’s owner, John Fink, went through 25 lambs during the three-day event, boiling the bones for stock and rendering about 150 pounds of fat for the kennebec fries. Fink estimates he works with nearly 80 farmers up and down the West Coast, joking, “I take the butcher out of the equation.” He sums up his business mantra as “Throw away nothing.” That motto reverberated throughout the grounds. After tasting a sample of lamb courtesy of the kind man with the meat cleaver, confusion stops me short. Does the papery sample cup go into the recycling? Or do the delicious lamb juices demote it to garbage? “Compost.” A man in a bright yellow traffic vest answers the question without me asking. “Everything used to serve food is


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Facing page: a view of some of the food venues at Outside Lands. Above: decadent mac ’n cheese. Photos: Jennifer Crosby.

compostable — even the utensils,” he adds with a whiff of pride and smugness. This is, after all, San Francisco and the festival channels the forwardleaning ethos of the city. There is a small farmers’ market and ride sharing. One of the performance stages is solar powered. In 2011, attendees and volunteers diverted 77 per cent of waste from the landfill — a whopping 78 tons of material. Even imbibing is done eco-style. In the elegantly-draped Wine Lands tent, the first step is to buy a stemless plastic wineglass. Step two: wander among the friendly vendors, sampling the fruit of nearby valleys and vineyards. Toss the wineglass in your shoulder bag and repeat at whim all weekend. The cocktail crowd can find upscale concoctions at outlets around the park. A twist on the Moscow Mule called Tito’s Electric Mule is crafted with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, local ginger beer, lime juice and Fee Brothers’ Mint Bitters. There were Summer Bourbon Smashes and Watermelon Margaritas and ingredients ranging from yerba matte tea and local honey to “a mist of Absinthe.” Beer drinkers need not despair. Just over the hill from one of the major music stages the barkeeps of

Beer Lands dish out sips and suds from local brewmasters, honouring the rich Pacific Northwest brewpub culture. Locally, some of our favourite food trends flow from this region. Look no further than Edmonton’s recent explosion of food trucks, long a San Fran staple. Around Golden Gate Park there were some discernable trends: mac and cheese, grilled cheese, tacos, and all things deep-fried. As you’d expect, the trendy came with a twist. The deep-fried category includes everything from pickle slices to the aforementioned mac and cheese. A three-cheese grilled sandwich was served with fig and fennel jam, and tacos were topped with the condiments of varying nationalities (think housemade kim chee). All that heat warmed the soul — and the hands, a necessity for concert slots later in the evening. As a young man handing us cupcakes piled high with icing quipped, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Even in midsummer, cool temperatures and fog off San Francisco Bay forced us into multiple layers, sneaking puzzled glances at teens clad in tights and daisy chains. It boded well for comfort foods. On opening Continued next page

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The Tomato | March April 2013 27


festival food Continued from page 27

night, as the crowd prepared for Neil Young to take the stage, we warmed frigid fingers on plates of tater tots dressed up with chililime aioli. Like tens of thousands of others, Laura Olson spent Saturday night rocking out to headliners Metallica. But she did it while cooking up macaroni and cheese. Olson is a manager at Homeroom, an Oakland restaurant dedicated to the revived classic. From its spot among the long row of booths near the Main Stage, Homeroom served Gilroy Mac + Cheese. Attendees familiar with the area will know Gilroy equals garlic, with the nearby city known as Garlic Capital of the World. Homeroom served just one dish, to simplify matters. But like other offerings at Outside Lands, it was

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28 March April 2013 | The Tomato

no simple dish. Graced with gouda, pecorino and roasted garlic, it stuck to the ribs and brought back memories of a cozy kitchen on a winter afternoon. When I ask Olson which performers she liked best, she says, “Stevie Wonder,” then adds, “and Metallica too.” There is some surprise in her voice that reflects the varied nature of the musical lineup. And that’s where the food is just like the music: you may think you’re going to Outside Lands to enjoy one thing — and instead find the unexpected combinations are the most memorable. Global News anchor Jennifer Crosby did double back for Chicken Yum Yum at Outside Lands 2012. She finished half of it.

The fabled Chicken Yum Yum. Photos: Jennifer Crosby.


top one hundred continued from page 13

7. Matahari’s Mango Salad Rolls burst with fresh flavours, and make a deliciously light starter while waiting for curried fish. 6. Cibo’s charcuterie (particularly the unusual porca la testa) and their unctuous beef cheeks, polenta fritta with salami, arancini. We also love their $10 lunch. 5. King Noodle Pho Hoang Moustache Man is the face of King Noodle, but Chinatown’s most deliciously fragrant and fresh pho

is made by his wife Hoa Sen Dao. Beef or chicken? You choose. 4. Dungeness crab cakes at the Harvest Room in the Hotel Macdonald. 3. The Marc’s Frites with Truffled Mayo. Fall, no, leap off the diet wagon into a plate of these addictively crispy fries. Especially good with an Aperol spritz. 2. Three Boars Eatery changes its menu frequently, which makes it hard for fans to pick just one thing, so they didn’t. They chose fried mushrooms with egg and the ever-changing poutine. 1. Corso 32 tops the list as the restaurant with the most dishes voted for overall. It was a toss-up between the goat cheese ricotta, and the salted hazelnut chocolate dessert; the chicken liver tortellini in brown butter with sage or the arancini, ravioli or short rib, but the soulful spaghetti Bolognese was number one. We also love Corso’s overall brio; their selection of aperitivo and amari, the pretty much all-Italian wine list and that crazy pasta with toasted rye crumble.

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The Tomato | March April 2013 29


Prince Edward Isle

Kristine Kowalchuk

Robert Pendergast’s Chowder My love of food is partly thanks to my P.E.I. chef friend Robert Pendergast’s cooking. Both because his meals are thoughtful and creative and delicious, and because they always include stories and music. Robert’s family has deep roots on Prince Edward Island, and as far as I can tell they’re all storytellers and musicians. His grandparents and father have written books on P.E.I. folklore, and his brother Michael is a pro accordion player. Sometimes Robert leaves Irish or Acadian songs on my answering machine, just as he sometimes sends me sketched postcards of mackerel or oysters or lobsters. And yet, though we’ve been friends for nearly 15 years, I had never been out east, to see him in his element. Late last summer, however, my mom and I traveled to the Maritimes, and the dinner we had with Robert and his wife Ellen couldn’t have been more P.E.I. “Drive north from Charlottetown to Stanley Bridge,” were his directions, “and we’ll meet you where the kids jump off the bridge.” Thankfully, Stanley Bridge is tiny and the road goes right over the bridge — where a group of teenage boys were indeed jumping. When Robert and Ellen arrived, Robert picked up a few lobsters and we were off. We drove past L.M. Montgomery’s childhood home, then turned toward “Penderosa Beach,” named after the campground Robert’s family used to run. His family’s cottage was covered in weathered wood, with a red-tin roof. It was

30 March April 2013 | The Tomato

just this side of the grass-covered dunes, with a path leading to the beach. We all threw on flip flops and headed for the water, passing Robert’s 90-year-old aunt, who drives to P.E.I. from Vancouver, alone, every summer. The beach was wide and empty, the water clear and surprisingly warm. We spent the afternoon here, swimming, relaxing, and working up an appetite. Back at the cottage, we poured white wine and Robert prepared our post-beach dinner: colourful tomatoes from the Charlottetown farmers’ market; scallops sautéed in butter; lobster chowder; bread he’d baked in a clay, wood-fire oven; fresh blueberries for dessert. Everything was divine, and the chowder the best I’d ever had. It wasn’t thick; Robert said P.E.I. chowders don’t have a flour roux, just a touch of cream at the end. The lobster was sweet and was perfectly complemented by potatoes and a few leaves of a wild, bay-like herb growing everywhere in the dunes. Back home, I called Robert for the chowder recipe. Instead, he told me about the chowder he’d made for this fall’s P.E.I. Potato Seafood Chowder Championship, which had won him second place. The basic recipe was the same as the one we’d eaten, he said, but for this one he had puréed oysters and apple for the base. Meanwhile, he had slow-cooked bacon, then removed the bacon and added vegetables and paprika to make the broth; to this he added cod and mussels. Then he had mixed the bacon with bread crumbs, and in a separate bowl blended lobster and butter until it was smooth. He put the lobster butter in the bowl, poured the chowder over, and garnished it with the bacon crumble. “I'm surprised it finished second!” he said. “But, second place is really the prize on P.E.I. First prize is too political.” Then, instead of

giving me this recipe, he sent me one for “chaudrée de poisson et fruits de mer” he had prepared for Radio-Canada. But I realized this was another variation on that same basic chowder — which is also the made-to-order recipe he now makes at Young Folk and the Kettle Black in Charlottetown; customers choose the seafood and the garnish. As we licked our bowls clean that late-August night on Penderosa Beach, Robert’s nephew Shane stopped by and pulled out a guitar. Robert found a fiddle (he has since gotten good), and they began to play. After Four Strong Winds for my mom and me, they did a dozen local folk songs. One they didn’t play, but which Robert sent me with the chowder recipe, was the best of all: his father singing Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder Pot? There’s a link to it on thetomato.ca — so you can make Robert’s chowder after reading this story, and listen to the music. It doesn’t get more P.E.I. than that, even if we’re still in Alberta.

robert pendergast’s chowder puréed vegetable base butter, olive oil or sunflower oil 2-3 large onions, chopped 2 large

carrots, chopped

4 stalks

celery, chopped

1 c

white mushrooms, chopped

2-6 cloves garlic, minced

large pinch of sea salt

4 large

potatoes, chopped

3 Cortland apples, peeled and chopped Cook onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic on a low fire in butter or oil. Add salt. When vegetables are glistening, add potatoes and apples.

Cover and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Cool slightly, then purée. Set aside.

chowder: butter, olive oil or sunflower oil 1

onion, finely chopped

“enough” potatoes, peeled and diced

salt and pepper

1 t

smoked paprika

any fish (e.g. haddock, halibut or salmon) and shellfish combination 500 ml

whipping cream

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot and melt butter/heat oil. Add the onion. Then add the potatoes. Add seasonings. Cover with water and bring to a boil. When the potatoes are cooked, stir in the vegetable purée. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400ºF. Season the fish with salt, pepper and butter, then bake until just barely cooked. Then carefully break it up with a spoon or fork and add it to the chowder, along with any shellfish, and heat through. To finish, add whipping cream and correct the seasoning.

luxurious variation Lobster Butter: Take 250g of fresh or frozen cooked lobster meat, and blend 1-2 minutes. Add 250g of roomtemperature butter, a pinch of paprika and pepper, and maybe some chopped chives or parsley, and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth. Put a tablespoon or two of lobster butter in each bowl and pour the hot chowder over top. You could also use crab, shrimp, smoked salmon, cooked mussels, smoked mussels, Malpeque oysters, smoked eel, etc. to flavour your butter. Kristine Kowalchuk is slightly better at shucking an oyster than playing the fiddle.


olive tree Continued from page 15

4 lg Yukon gold (or equivalent) potatoes, thinly sliced 2 T extra virgin olive oil (preferably Puglian)

salt to taste

10

grape tomatoes, quartered

1 c

uncooked white rice

½ c

fresh-grated pecorino

½ ?

toasted breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash mussels, discarding any that are open. Put in medium pan, add wine and cook until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, allow to cool until they can be handled, then take mussels out of their shells and set aside. Reserve cooking liquid. In a medium baking dish, arrange a layer of the onions, then a layer of sliced potatoes. Drizzle a spoonful of oil, season and continue layering with half the tomatoes. Distribute half the rice over and add the mussels. Add more layers of onions, rice and tomatoes, ending with a layer of potatoes. Drizzle with the rest of the oil, the grated pecorino and the breadcrumbs. Add the cooking liquid from the mussels and more water if necessary until liquid comes almost ¾ of the way up the dish. Cook for about an hour, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Serves 4-5.

almond cake On the Masseria San Martino breakfast buffet — along with a fresh cheese made that morning, little yellow plums plucked from trees on the property, bread and various home-made jams, yogurt, sliced ham and provolone, and coffee made in a stove-top Bialetti — was cake. Yes, cake for breakfast, and not as decadent as it sounds, what are muffins but a little cake? This recipe from Puglia in Cucina highlights the almonds grown in Puglia. 1 c

(250g) peeled almonds

¾ c

(200g) sugar

½ c

cold water

6

egg yolks

1 T

grated lemon zest (no pith)

3

egg whites

butter for pan

Grease a round 8-inch cake tin and place a round of parchment in the bottom. Reserve. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grind the almonds with the sugar to make a fine flour. Put the mixture in a pan with the water. Stir over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. When cool, stir in the zest and the yolks until well mixed. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the almond mixture, then pour into the prepared baking pan.

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Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

orecchiette with anchovy, chile and broccoli rabe (cima de rape) Adapted from In Nonna’s Kitchen by Carol Field (HarperCollins). 2 t

extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves

garlic, chopped

• Edmonton’s best selection of whisky • Unique Cheeses & Charcuterie • Full lunch and dinner menu • Private functions Southside • 5482 Calgary Trail • 780.761.1761 2ND LOCATION DOWNTOWN! 10124 – 124 Street • 780.760.8060 www.thebothy.ca

4 fillets anchovy, packed in olive oil, drained and chopped 2 dried chili peppers, crumbled, or ½ t chili flakes 2 T

salt, or to taste

2 bunches (1 lb) broccoli rabe, yellow buds and tough stems removed, chopped 1 lb orecchiette (or follow package directions for four people) 1 c freshly grated Pecorino Romano (omit if using anchovies) Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook 10 seconds; stir in the anchovies and crush them into the olive oil with the back of a fork. Fold in the chili flakes and keep warm. Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt, broccoli rabe, and orecchiette. Cook until the orecchiette are al dente, stirring often. Drain and return to the pot. Pour in the warm garlic oil from the skillet, stir in the Pecorino if you like, and serve immediately. Serves 4. Mary Bailey is the editor of The Tomato and a lover of zesty oils.

The Tomato | March April 2013 31


kitchen sink

| what’s new and notable

wine tastings happenings and events Enjoy Stawnichy pyrohy, Kickin’ Ash bison along with refreshing Peller Estates wines and Molson brews at Grapes Grains and Grub a fundraiser for the Capital Care Foundation. The evening is hosted by Jackie Rae Greening and Kelly McClung; 5pm, Thursday April 18 at the Royal Alberta Museum (12845 102 Ave.), $50/ticket, grapesgrainsgrub.eventbrite.ca. One of the most popular events of the Sorrentino’s Garlic Festival is the Garlic Cook-off. Submit your original garlic recipe to win a trip for two to the garlic capital of the world, Gilroy, California. Contest closes March 24. To enter, visit sorrentinos.com. Sorrentino’s 22nd Annual Garlic Festival runs April 8-May 11. Enjoy the happening at Cally’s Teas (10151 82 Avenue, 780-757-8944) called Sweet Ladies, a mixed media desserts art featuring six female artists, illustrators and graphic designers. Show opens April 6. Crestwood Wine Shop (9658 142 Street, 780-488-7800) French Wine Series Tastings: March 12, Right Bank Bordeaux; April 9, Burgundy. Tastings start at 7pm sharp, $30/person. Aligra Wine & Spirits tastings: Wine 201, Wine Fundamentals, The Secondary Grapes, March 4, $41.95; Pinot Envy with sommelier Ken Bracke, March 12, $41.95; Stop and Smell the Rose-ehs, April 9, $41.95, aligrawineandspirits.com/events Unwined (#2-512 St. Albert Trail, St. Albert, 780-458-4777, unwined.com) features Laurie Greenwood at Unwined’s Book Club, The Days of Wine and Proses; pairing wines with the novel Like Water for Chocolate, March 20; Accidental Sommelier Series, Weird Reds, March 19. Join Amy Rosen, Shelley Boettcher, Curtis Gillespie, Jennifer Schell, and Jennifer Cockrall-King for superb Okanagan food and wine experiences at the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop, April 28-May 1, okanaganfoodandwinewritersworkshop.com. Slow Food delegates, members and nonmembers will all find something to savour at the Slow Food National Conference,

32 March April 2013 | The Tomato

April 25-28 in Osoyoos. Expect a weekend filled with slow culinary adventures including a dinner by Joy Road, a mini Slow Fish featuring sustainable Canadian fish organized by Kelowna’s fabulous Codfather’s Fish Market, a Thomson Okanagan Food Fest featuring local producers, and, of course, lots of fabulous Okanagan wine. Visit slowfood.ca or call Ingrid at the Watermark Beach Resort (1-888-755-3480) for info.

restaurant ramblings The Smokehouse BBQ (10810 124 Street) reopens in late March/early April after a devastating fire took out most of the back of the building late last year. They figured out a way to keep Edmontonians in barbecue by opening a service window at the Knoxville Tavern (10736 Jasper Avenue) for weekday lunch. Roll up to the window, place your order and enjoy a pulled pork sandwich, brisket, ribs, and the amazing turkey gumbo. Don’t miss Madison’s For the Love of Local Dinner March 28, five courses featuring several of the local producers that supply the restaurant, dinner $85/ person, with optional wine pairing $65. Space is limited, 780-401-2222. Watch for their Peter Lehmann Dinner sometime in late April. Jack’s Grill (5842 111 Street, 780-434-1113) brings back the set menu, “usually four or five courses, $45-$55,” says their most capable chef Ryan Hotchkiss. The series of table d’hote menus will run Monday through Thursdays into the summer months, based on what’s in season and the imagination of the kitchen. The downtown jewel box of a wine bar, Tzin Wine and Tapas (10115 104 Street, 780-428-8946) has a new look, solid oak tables and chairs (no more ottomans!) and a rich colour scheme of russets, burnt orange and mahogany. All the better to enjoy chef Corey McGuire’s toothsome plates of braised bacon, roasted squash salad or potatoes bravas. More food trucks, yay! Erin Slade and Colin McDonald are getting their truck inhousekitchen ready for the summer season. We love their motto, a quote from Britain’s nose-to-tail aficionado Fergus Henderson: “Once you knock an animal

on the head, it is only polite to eat it all.“ Check out their progress at inhousekitchen. ca or on Twitter @inHouseKitchen. We’re looking forward to the arrival of The Local Omnivore food truck, Ryan Brodziak and Mark Bellows’ entry to the burgeoning downtown food truck scene. Not sure yet where they will be parked for breakfast and lunch, but we do know they will be serving Irving’s pork belly. Giddy up! Shaw Conference Centre sous chef Serge Belair represents Canada at the World Association of Chefs Societies’ prestigious global chef challenge during the American Culinary Federation Convention in July. If Belair wins, he will move on to compete at the world finals in Stavanger, Norway next year. “Edmonton is the training ground for some of Canada’s finest chefs, and chef Belair is one of our rising stars,” says Simon Smotkowicz, executive chef, Shaw Conference Centre. “All of us in the Shaw kitchen are totally behind him.” NAIT Culinary Arts graduate Michael Seiffert is the new chef de cuisine at Ousia (10846 82 Avenue, 780-761-1910) He has been working with the Ousia crew since last June. We look forward to tasting more fresh flavours from that kitchen.

cooking classes Blue Flame Kitchen demonstration classes are now available in Edmonton with Metro Continuing Education, $89 plus $20 materials charge: March 4, Eggcellent! Cheese soufflés, pavlova, make-ahead dishes, $89; March 14, C is for Cookie! Perfect sugar cookies, breakfast biscotti, lemon icebox cookies; March 16, Kids in the Kitchen. Help your children discover their inner chef; March 27, Uncanny Winter Preserving. Visit atcoblueflamekitchen.com/Classes/ Cooking-Classes to book. Enjoy cooking and hospitality chez Brad Smoliak. His downtown culinary studio called Kitchen by Brad is ideal for a small (up to 12 people) private breakfast, lunch, or dinner; team building or strategy sessions; bridal showers, and all-day meetings and events, with or without cooking classes. Visit kitchenbybrad.ca to book your culinary adventure.


The Pan Tree (220 Lakeland Drive, Sherwood Park, 780-4644631, thepantree.ca) offers a Kid’s Cooking Class with chef Richard Toll on March 7.

gastronomic travel Always wanted to take a river cruise? We do, every time we see the TV ad for Viking River Cruises right before an episode of Downton Abbey. Aligra Wine & Spirits is organizing an October group departure for a Bordeaux cruise. Find out more at the Chateaux, Rivers & Wine information evening, 6pm, April 15, at Uniglobe Geo Travel (10237 109 Street, 780-702-3256). Valerie Lugonja is planning a group travel package (from Edmonton and Calgary) for the Slow Food National Conference. Contact Valerie@acanadianfoodie. com for more information, current prices and schedule. Gail Hall is adding another Seasoned Solutions Culinary Tour of Portugal, from October 18-29. Experience fabulous fish and seafood, custard tarts, markets, cooking classes and restaurants. The cost is $5495/person (double occupancy, not including airfare), seasonedsolutions.ca. Join the Edmonton Journal’s Liane Faulder on a trip to Italy, May 19-30. Spend three days in Parma, three days in Torgiano (including a tour of the Lungarotti winery and museum) and four days in Rome. The cost is $8,695/person, newwesttravel.com. Join food and wine impresario Peter Blattmann on his Culinary & Wine Tour of Alsace, Germany and Austria, October 5-18. Taste acclaimed Rieslings and unique Grüner Veltliners. Indulge in the iconic pastries, concerts and operas of Vienna, gourmet-experience.com.

product news Get ready to dive into some fab cocktails: the vermouth everyone has been waiting for, Carpani Antica Formula, is now available at Crestwood Wine Shop, along with the earthy, bitter Punt e Mes, and Vya, the sweet vernouth made by California dessert wine company Quady. Yum! Yvan and Ritsuko Chartrand’s son Kenny has joined them in the family bakery business full-time. “He had been working part-time with me since he was 12 years old,” says Yvan. Lots of new projects at Bonjour Boulangerie (Treestone, 8612 99 Street, 780-433-5924), the charcuterie they will be using for sandwiches is just about perfected, and they are experimenting with deep-dish pizza.

vitamin E. Sample this nutty lighttasting oil in-store, 500ml $19.95. Pan Tree welcomes Jane Simpson (formerly Dansk) as their new assistant manager. The dishwashersafe Epicurean iPad stands ($35) are now in stock along with iPad sleeves (five in a package for $5.95). Send new and/or interesting food and drink related news for The Kitchen Sink to thetomato.ca.

A beautiful room that has an old Italian feel with modern new age touches. The food mixes authentic Italian flavors with

Bon Ton Bakery (8720 149 Street, 780-489-7717) has two new breads on offer: a nutty-tasting stoneground organic whole wheat loaf made from heritage wheat, grown and milled by Morinville’s Gold Forest Grains, $4.25. The rustic 100 per cent Bavarian rye loaf has a wonderfully moist crumb, slightly sour with a crisp crust. The sunflower seeds add an appealing richness, $4.95.

a modern twist. Everything local, fresh and made in-house.

The Pan Tree (220 Lakeland Drive, Sherwood Park, 780-464-4631 thepantree.ca) now offers Three Farmers Camelina oil from Saskatchewan. This cold pressed, non-GMO oil is produced from an ancient oilseed rich in omega-3 and

Open Tuesday – Friday: 11.30 am – 2.00 pm Tuesday – Saturday: 5.00 pm – 10.00 pm

Perfect wines for every occasion. 9658 - 142 Street | 780-488-7800 | crestwoodfinewines.com

780-757-2426 cibobistro.com 11244 - 104 Ave (Oliver Square) The Tomato | March April 2013 33


from the editor

| mary bailey

100 Issues G ourme t k i t ch e n ta b l e t o p fi ne l i ne ns brid a l r e G i s t ry

i ndu l G e your s e ns e s

Crestwood Centre | 9646 142 Street 780.437.4190 | www.bellacasaDCL.com

Beautiful Parties c aT e r e D h e r e .

One hundred issues. Really? How is that even possible? From our first three years under the protective umbrella of City Palate Calgary, through our rebranding as The Tomato in 2010, it feels like 20 issues, not 100. A big fat juicy thank you to art director Jan Thalheimer, whose design sense is unparalleled, and web manager/copy editor Amanda LeNeve. We could not have a magazine without them. Amanda expertly shepherded our foray onto the web, thetomato.ca, and to Facebook, and we’re glad she did. Our printing team at Transcontinental do everything they can to make sure the Tomato is pristine. Don Retson, the last pair of eyes to catch all those annoying typos and flow issues, thank you. Thank you as well to our sale execs, Maria Iacobelli, and, in Calgary, Ellen Kelly and Janet Henderson. We give thanks to our food and drink community: the culinary — from the grizzled, raspy-voiced, bad-backed veterans, to the fresh-faced newbies right out of culinary school, to the delightful frontof-house men and women who make going to restaurants worth leaving the comfort of home for, (and let’s not forget those who toil in the dish-pit, probably the most crucial position of all); the farmers and producers; purveyors; wine merchants; farmers’ markets; our wonderful writers; business owners; our contributors; our advertisers; and, especially, our readers. Without them, what would be the point? Without all, we would not be a community.

T he B uTler D i D i T 780.455.5228 | tlagency@shaw.ca

34 March April 2013 | The Tomato

Let’s continue to treasure our farmers, revel in our independents, make smart choices about our food and drink, and continue to seek out the best we have whether that be a talented baker or a wheel of cheese.

Me? Wrangling 100 issues has not diminished my love of a good meal, or a good laugh, or my passion for all things food and drink and the words to describe them. I’ll continue to search out the freshest talent, the tastiest dishes, the most truthful wines, the best way to cook a pizza on the barbecue, or to feed 25 people in my living room. Wine and wine people, food and food people: my oxygen.

but he’s a busy guy, what with running a resto, creating Story Slam, booking musicians and all that. Happy we can do it in this issue on page 10. Kristine Kowalchuk is a thoughtful, lyrical writer. Read her story on East coast chowder, page 36. Jack Danylchuk possesses a writer’s eye and an excellent palate, Jack is an inveterate traveller with in-depth knowledge, particularly of Central and South America. He describes the Todos Santos culinary scene on page 6. We celebrate the best in Canadian cooking with an upadate on the 2013 Canadian Culinary Championships where the top ten chefs in Canada competed for a podium finish, page 24. Gold Medal Plates is becoming one of the most interesting and respected culinary competitions in the country. Daniel Costa, the chef/owner of Corso 32, shares a story about the country of his heart: Italy. Daniel’s food sensibility is second to none — if he says go somewhere, run, don’t walk, page 18.

We are thrilled that we have been able to gather most of our favourite food people all in one March/April Travel issue. Seeing the world through Judy Schultz’s eyes is a trip, and we’ve been lucky to be able to do it for several years. Read her feature on the Auckland fish market on page 34. Karen Virag is an editor’s dream — acerbically funny, cleanest copy, words that make you think. Karen tackles food and class, page 8. Jennifer Crosby describes a delicious music festival — with offerings far beyond burgers and fries on page 20. We have wanted to share a story by Harold Wollin for several years,

Like many in our food community Teresa Spinelli runs a family business, and when she can find products from other families, it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Read about the Pellegrino family, including some delicious Puglian recipes, page 14. Cibo co-owner and exec chef Rosario Caputo shares a recipe and some hints on how to make a Tuscan feast, page 38. We’ll save the big retrospective for our 20th anniversary (2016), but we couldn’t resist including a few of our favourite dishes in the Top 100 list, page 12. Thank you for reading. Mary Bailey is the editor of The Tomato.


New Zealand

Judy Schultz

And fish for all After a dozen trips to New Zealand, I finally get it. When you live on a couple of islands with more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline, you’ll want to eat fish. Lots of it. Which is how we end up at the Auckland Seafood School, where I manage to break a wine glass even before we start. Brilliant opener. My fellow cooks applaud.

tonight is prawn toast and steamed local salmon, from the cold waters of the Marlborough Sound. The flesh is deep redorange, like wild North Pacific salmon. Elle and I chop and grind ingredients for the prawn toasts while my husband, Ed, pins the bones from a side of Marlborough salmon, cuts it into pieces, lays it on a bed of sliced limes and smothers it with fresh herbs to steam. Eventually we all sit down for a long, convivial evening: eat, drink, and make new friends over a fish dinner.

“If you really want to get into fish, this is the place to begin,” says a fish-loving friend, Elle Armon-Jones. Through her company, The Big Foody, Elle explores every nook and cranny of Auckland’s vibrant food scene. Tonight we’ve both registered in a class called Thai Seafood, which is really about fresh, local seafood from the downstairs fish market, cooked Thai-style. It’s one of 14 different classes offered this month.

So if the 5am wake-up call in our Auckland hotel seems a tad early, it’s OK. I want to be at the fish auction when the bell rings.

Before heading into the kitchen-lab, everybody watches a one-hour demo by an enthusiastic chef. She stresses fresh ingredients (cilantro stems, limes, galangal, basil, lemon grass, palm sugar, fish sauce) and how to combine them for authentic Thai flavours. On the menu

The day’s catch is stacked in bins of chipped ice, each marked with the name of the fishing fleet, the name of the catch, and G for green (the entire fish) or D for dressed: headless, gutless. In a vast, cold room with a fresh, deep-ocean smell, the fish are beautiful to behold. This morning, many of them seem to be red, orange, or some shade of it, with flashes of silver and blue.

Succulent offerings at the Auckland fish auction. Photos: Elle Armon-Jones

36 March April 2013 | The Tomato

Auckland isn’t the biggest fish auction in the Pacific Rim, (Tokyo and Melbourne are bigger), but it’s the only one in New Zealand, and this morning, 40 to 50 buyers circle the bins with practiced eyes. The Dutch auction is based on declining price, so it moves fast, and a sale takes only seconds. Most of the buyers are from fish and chip shops. Important chefs from busy restaurants send somebody over to shop, and the others are buying for fresh fish counters all over New Zealand.

The longer I’m in New Zealand, the better I like eating fish, and maybe the infinite variety, 150 sustainable species in these waters, is the reason. This morning for instance, there’s gurnard (my favourite), tarahiki, kahawai; ling, moki, mullet; monkfish, sowfish, spud, leather jacket; red scorpion fish, pink maumau, and gorgeous, ruby-red alfonsino; a bin of skate, with giant graceful blue-gray wings and close-together eyes. I love to watch these guys swim past a dock. A flat gray fish, John Dory, has a pronounced mark on the side, like a thumbprint. “It’s the fingerprint of St. Peter,” says a fisherman. “When this fish spots a predator, it turns sideway. The predator thinks it’s an eye, and backs off.” Speaking of predators, we have sharks. A massive fish, dressed, but still hanging out both ends of its bin, is a bronze whaler, a fairly big shark often seen basking in Manukau Harbour. There are rumours that a Great White was recently spotted in a bay near us, on the Awhitu Peninsula. A woman was cooling her dog when the shark suddenly appeared, lunged at the dog, and missed. Or so goes the story. I have my doubts. I’ve seen Jaws, and I met a man in the Chatham Islands who lost his left arm to a Great White. He had a knife and a spear gun. Great Whites don’t miss. There’s this young fisherman. His green hoodie is rumpled, his wellies are flopping (no socks). Cell phone in one hand, coffee in the other. He’s been at sea overnight, probably longer, and he’s a


happy man. The weather has been good. So has the sea. “Beautiful!" he says. “Blue, calm… beautiful!” He talks about the ocean as a poet would. He free-dives for kina, holding his breath, staying under until he finds what he’s looking for. What he sees down there enchants him, as it has four generations of his family before him, fishermen all. Kina is spiny sea urchin, of which only the creamy yellow roe is edible. Kina-lovers eat it raw, or warmed on toast. It tastes of melon, they say. Of mango or fruit salad. (They lie. It tastes fishy.) “If you find a good patch, you’ll soon have your limit,” the auction manager tells me. He spear fishes for fun. Me? I won’t be paddling around down there with a little mesh bag, holding my breath and praying not to meet a Great White. Not in the near future. Auckland is chock-a-block with fishmarkets, fish restaurants, ubiquitous fish-and-chip shops. Upmarket, downmarket – fish for all, and all for fish. After a morning of bouncing around town with Elle, who is part foodie, part fisherwoman, we end up for a late lunch at the Viaduct Harbour, where Kermadec is one of Auckland’s premier spots: service, wine, view, fish. Especially the fish. We start with squid, soaked in goat’s milk to tenderize the flesh, then fried. It’s golden, crispy. “We used to bash these on the rocks to tenderize them,” Elle recalls. She used to work in Greece, in a restaurant on the beach. Thus the bashing.

stuffed with fresh herbs, garnished with small white clams under a kafir lime foam, in turn garnished with clusters of tiny perfect sea grapes. They look like jewels and taste like the sea. The texture is poppy, like the best caviar, and every nibble produces an explosion of deep-sea flavour. It’s like eating the ocean. Judy Schultz is a writer and author based in Edmonton and Auckland, New Zealand.

If you go If you’re off on the Hobbit trail, with only 24 hours for beautiful Auckland, the Big Foodie can provide a whirlwind introduction to regional seafood and wine, including the fish auction, the world-famous Auckland Seafood School and the Big Picture Wine Experience. Advance booking is essential.

Enjoy pyrogies from Stawnichy's, Bison appetizers from Kickin' Ash Buffalo and wet your whistle with Peller Estates wine and Molsons at this "fun"draiser for the CapitalCare Foundation.

Hosted by Jackie Rae Greening & Kelly McClung

Thursday, April 18 Networking 5:00 pm Short Program 6:00pm Royal Alberta Museum 12845-102 Ave

$50/ticket. Call 780-448-2413 for tickets or purchase online at http://grapesgrainsgrub.eventbrite.ca/

One of Elle’s favourite waterfront activities is The Big Picture, a new wine attraction in the same building as the fish market. It’s a fast introduction to New Zealand wines and winemakers, a flight of six wines paired with food samples. Check out thebigfoody. com for details; also see thewinexperience.co.nz; and afm.co.nz.

GO BEYOND THE ORDINARY

Here comes the chef with the main: golden pan-fried skate wing,

Whether it’s an undiscovered Argentinian vineyard, a famous French winery, or a hidden gem right here in Canada, at Wine and Beyond, we insist on bringing you the world when it comes to our wines.

Elle Armon-Jones (far right) and tour members admire Auckland’s skyline

6,000 wines, 2,500 spirits, 1,800 brews WINDERMERE 6276 Currents Drive

SHERWOOD PARK 7000 Emerald Drive

The Tomato | March April 2013 37


feeding people Dinner at Cibo Rosario Caputo chef/owner and sous-chef Matt Helstein have been creating several Italian regional dinners at the Oliver Square restaurant, Cibo.

another level of flavour — and then finished the dish off with four litres of reduced veal stock.

“We chose Tuscany for our latest dinner. We wanted a region that not only had great food, but also produced a variety of white, red and dessert wines,” says Rosario.

What’s up next?

“To stay true to what Tuscany had to offer, we researched recipes and procedures. We knew that Italian food keeps ingredients local, they don’t source out, but use whatever they can get from the land. So we used product we could find from Alberta. Mona supplied some nice wild hedgehog mushrooms. “We wanted to serve a very rich dish for our pasta course so we decided on duck ragu. We confit the legs first, instead of stewing them, to add more layers of flavour. “We used the fat from the confit, and rendered the guanciale to add a silky pork flavour. We kind of stewed the mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) for about 45 minutes on a low simmer, until it became a rich paste. Once that was done we added white wine — adding

“People couldn’t wrap their heads around how explosive the flavours were.”

“We’re looking at Lombardia, but it’s tough to find wines from that region here. Same with Emilia Romagna, so we might shoot down to Sicily.”

duck ragu cibo 25 duck legs prepared conduto (confit) 1 c

duck fat

1 guanciale

small cubes

4 parts

onions, small dice

2 parts

carrots, small dice

2 parts

celery

2lb wild mushroom cleaned and rough cut ½ bottle

dry white wine

4 litres veal glace (reduced veal stock)

salt and pepper to taste

Finish with fresh sage

Taste of Toscana Crostini Toscana & Meriggio Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Chicken liver pate, capers, raisins, pickled red onion. Vitello Tonnato & Fattoria Di Magliano Pagliatura Vermentino 2010 Veal carpaccio, tuna dressing, caper, shaved radish, Italian parsley. Traditional Duck Ragu & Fontodi Chianti Classico 2008 Duck and wild mushroom ragu on house-made pappardelle. Limone Sorbetto Bistecca Alla Fiorentina & Terralsole Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 Steak Florentine style, wilted spinach finished with lemon Biscotti & Fattoria Del Barbi Vin Santo 2006 Classic twice-baked, chocolate, almonds, orange

38 March April 2013 | The Tomato


A Canadian Epic

of Food and Wine

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March/April 2013  

Issue one hundred; the travel issue.

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