Serves 4 / ready in 30 minutes
On a trip to Montreal with friends, we shared a broccoli-based “Caesar” salad as a starter plate. It featured a whole broccoli stalk that had been charred on a grill, finished in the oven and then smothered in Caesar dressing. It was so good that I would have fought everyone at the table for the last bite. The smoky tempeh makes this a more filling vegetable course, too.
I blanch the broccoli here, but I’ve also prepared this salad with roasted broccoli florets as a warm salad. Just place the florets on a baking sheet, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 400 F oven for about 20 minutes or so.
Make the Creamy Cashew Caesar Dressing: In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine cashew butter, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir with a spoon or small spatula until cashew butter is broken up. Mash chunks of cashew butter against sides of jar to get it as integrated as possible. Add garlic, Dijon mustard, capers, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Tightly secure lid, and shake jar vigorously until dressing has a smooth and creamy consistency. Set aside.
Make the salad: Bring large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a fat pinch of salt and broccoli florets, and simmer until broccoli is just tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
In small bowl, stir together paprika, smoked paprika, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and tamari. Set aside.
Dry saucepan and return it to stove over medium heat. Add oil and let it heat through until shimmering slightly. Add crumbled tempeh, spreading it out to a single layer. Let it sit and brown for a full 2 minutes. Then stir it up, and let it sit for another full minute. Pour paprika mixture into pan. It should sizzle quite a bit. Stir to coat all of the tempeh. Remove from heat.
Place broccoli on serving platter. Drizzle Creamy Cashew Caesar Dressing overtop. Scatter smoky tempeh bits overtop as well. Garnish with some nutritional yeast and freshly ground black pepper to finish. Serve immediately.
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.