At the restaurant, Munn marinates his own sardines by combining 1/2 cup (125 mL) of white wine, 1 cup (250 mL) each of water and vinegar, and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) each of sugar and salt before bringing this mix to a boil, chilling it down, and pouring it over fresh sardines. Two days of pickling makes for perfection!
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 to 2 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups/500 mL), diced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tarragon, coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) whole Italian parsley leaves
6 Tbsp (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
12 filets marinated sardines, store-bought or homemade
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine cucumber and tomato together with herbs, and toss lightly. Add olive oil and vinegar and season to taste. To assemble, place sardine filets in a shallow soup bowl or deep plate and place tomato-cucumber mix on top.
Divide any extra tomato juices amongst the bowls. (Chef’s tip: We sometimes garnish with a gazpacho consommé made by pureeing tomato, red onion, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, and salt, which is then strained through cheesecloth to get a clear juice or consommé.)
source: "The Spirit of Café Brio", alive #308, June 2008
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.