The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but in Vancouver that could all change in a heartbeat. Welcome to the WestCoast WetCoast~! If you’ve ever been here you understand how and why we always cherish the *(brief) moments of sunshine when they arrive… and what could be more in keeping with the current conditions than a hearty salad for dinner.
The trouble is, it’s only the first week of April and we really don’t have salad crops coming in: hence the need for what a chef-colleague of mine refers to as “The Crunchy Salad”. Not for the faint-of-heart, this salad includes celery, cauliflower, carrot – just about any winter crop that you can think of. And when it comes to those wintery vegetables, don’t think that they can’t fit into a salad – they just need a little extra love!
So for this salad I’ve roasted some beautiful Gold Beets, then sliced them against the grain to showcase the gorgeous colors. I also roast a sweet potato and parsnip for my next salad at the next time. Trust me, with the right dressing even my finicky 2-year old gives it a try… “What is it Daddy?” she ask. “Oh,” I respond with fingers crossed, “it’s just carrots. You love carrots!”
And there’s nothing that says summer to me more than sparkling wine; in any of its guises. Cava, Prosecco, Champagne… bubbles are the Sirens call for weddings, baby showers, Mother’s Day mimosas and so much of what we celebrate in the “School-Free” season. I’ve paired this salad with two unique wines that not only provide excellent balance for the dish but are from producers who I have the highest respect for; as winemakers and as people.
Gold Medal, Top 10 Sparkling Wines of competition - 2013 Effervescents du Monde
100% Pinot Noir
$27 at the winery
91+ points, EXCELLENT VALUE
… Springtime in a glass~! An enthusiastic mousse rushes to the surface carrying with it aromas of cranberries, young strawberries, clean flinty-mineral tones and a light savory herb tint. The palate is brisk with tight/lean/focused cranberry acids driving that mineral backbone. Dry enough to be almost austere, the generosity of the concentrated red berry flavors (currant, young raspberries) delivers excellent balance and superlative structure for the price. This is a natural pairing for most any poultry dish but is so refreshing that I love to serve it at home just before dinner to wake-up the taste-buds and get everyone thinking about food~! It is worthy of note that Summerhill is not only an organic winery, but also bio-dynamic, which means that while you’re getting your great value – you’re also supporting a company that works with their eco-system. Bravo!
100% Glera varietal grapes
from $10 USD in some American markets to $20 in some Canadian *(BC)
90 points Wine Spectator
89 points, Great Value
… as the Summerhill rose is the essence of bright red berries, the LaMarca Prosecco is the essence of white fruit: young peaches, Golden Delicious apples, Anjou pear, melon and light honey tones. Another example of dry sparkling wine *(brut), once again the concentration of fruit flavors more than adequately compensate. Very good balance and structure, only the (relative) coarseness of the bubbles made me score this less than 90 points. If you’re in the mood to serve this with breakfast, try it with chorizo and onion scrambled eggs, tomato-cilantro relish…. Sparkling wines, of course, being one of the best bevvies to pair with egg dishes, the flavors in this particular Prosecco get a little giddy when around cilantro and/or fresh basil~! I love the wine, love the price, but especially love that consulting winemaker Fabrizio Gatto started off on the family’s modest vineyard, in a small town. He sets his sights, worked his tail off, and grew a career bringing the grapes of his native hillsides to international respect.
The (sometimes) dullness of winter vegetables can easily be uplifted by the ultra-fresh flavors of sugar-peas. The addition of a handful of peas from Mexico/California bring an entire dish to life and become, to me, an incredibly effective seasoning. My daughter also likes snacking on them raw and I can’t say that I blame her!
3 tomatoes, seeds removed, julienne
½ cucumber, seeds removed, julienne
4 stalks celery, julienne
3 oz sugar peas, julienne
2 oz cauliflower, julienne
2 oz carrots, thin julienne
1 oz purple onion, julienne
3 Tbsp mayo
1 fl oz fresh lemon juice
1 fl oz rice wine vinegar
10 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade *(fine julienne)
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
1 lb gold beets, roast until just tender
1 lb roast turkey breast, cooled
4 savory scones: I made sun-dried tomato, dried cranberry and BC goat cheese
While it’s true that food is sustenance; we need it in order to live, it is also true that great food nourishes the soul or the spirit as much as it does the body. Living with the seasons celebrates what is surrounding us and helps us keep our focus on what really matters. To me, that becomes abundantly apparent when we sit down as a family and share what other families have worked so diligently to offer us.
So enjoy your meal with great wine and family or friends. Treat yourself, spoil someone else, and above all: savour the moment~! Many thanks to E & J Gallo Winery Canada for letting me try the LaMarca Prosecco!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
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