Simple and quick, this spot prawn pasta combines local, juicy seafood with a touch of heat. If you can’t find a fresh Fresno chili pepper, use a red jalapeño or a tiny bit of fresh cayenne pepper instead.
Cosco serves the prawns with the shells and heads on, but if you’re not catching your own spot prawns, buy ones with the heads removed. Prawns and shrimp release an enzyme from their heads when they die that makes the flesh black and mushy. Cooking prawns in their shells adds flavour, and the shells come off easily once cooked, but they can be a bit messy—especially when camping—so feel free to remove them before cooking or buy a smaller quantity of shelled prawns or shrimp if you’re worried about everyone’s fingers smelling of seafood all night.
In large pot, boil pasta until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, chop garlic, chili pepper, and parsley.
In 12 in (30 cm) cast iron skillet, heat chili oil. Add spot prawns and fry for 1 minute on each side. Remove prawns to cutting board.
Add pasta to skillet (don’t wipe it out first) and add garlic and chopped chili. Cook for 30 seconds, then add pasta and toss to coat. Return spot prawns to skillet, stir in parsley, and squeeze lemon juice overtop. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
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.