Yes, when in peak season and peak flavour, you can enjoy butternut squash raw. Ribbons of its sweet buttery flesh bejewelled with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds make for a vibrant salad that is much easier to put together than its good looks would suggest. And an orange marinade is the secret flavour booster in this recipe. The longer the squash marinates, the more tender it will become, making this a good make-ahead salad option.
To avoid painting your kitchen red when removing seeds (arils) from a pomegranate, cut the fruit into quarters and then submerge them in a bowl of cold water. Break seeds away from the white, pithy part of the fruit while underwater. Drain and retain seeds.
In large bowl, whisk together orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme, salt, and chili flakes.
Using vegetable peeler, slice lengthwise strips off the neck of squash to make long ribbons. Save bulb of squash for another use. Add squash ribbons to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 1 hour to tenderize and marinate.
Toss in pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds, then using tongs, transfer to serving plates.
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.