Makes 4 toasts.
Kick up your lunch routine with these open-faced sandwiches that feature fetching stacked colour contrasts. More proof that basil and tomato are a dynamic duo. Eating toast was never so exciting.
When nature gives you fresh sun-kissed basil in spades, consider drying some for use in cooking when the winter chill returns. Use kitchen twine to hang a bunch by the stems in a sunny location with good air circulation until the leaves crumble when pressed between your fingers. Pulverize the leaves using a mortar and pestle or food processor, and store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
Place beans, oil, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor or blender container and blend until just slightly chunky.
In small saucepan, simmer balsamic vinegar and honey over medium heat, uncovered, until syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp (30 mL), about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Spread bean-basil mixture on toast and top with a slice of tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle on balsamic syrup and garnish with fresh basil.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.