Various types of beets and honey can take this dish in plenty of delicious directions. Honey takes its flavour from the fields that surround the apiary and there are many varieties to explore, ranging from fireweed to blueberry to wildflower.
1 lb (450 g) heirloom beets, as many varieties as you find
6 Tbsp (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
2 heads butter lettuce, washed and dried well
1/2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) fireweed honey (or any high-quality honey you like)
3/4 cup (180 mL) peanut oil
Black pepper, freshly ground
To roast beets, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Wash and trim beets before placing in ovenproof dish, ensuring all are roughly the same size. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss with sprigs of fresh thyme.
Roast until tender (40 to 60 minutes, depending on size). Check with tip of sharp knife: they should offer no resistance. Remove beets from oven and cool until you are able to handle them. Peel beets and cut into irregular shapes. This can be done up to a day ahead.
To make dressing, zest and juice limes, reserve the zest, and place juice in bowl. Pour in honey and slowly whisk in peanut oil. Season dressing to taste.
To make salad, divide leaves of butter lettuce among six cold plates. Toss beets with a portion of the dressing and divide among the plates. Using a spoon, make small mounds of ricotta on salads. Sprinkle tops with lime zest and top each salad with more dressing.
Source: "Fuel Restaurant", alive #307, May 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.