By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN
Traditionally, July 1, Canada Day, is a celebratory time for young families. When my children were small, we would go to the local park to watch Canada Day fireworks with our neighbours. When the children were older, they marked the holiday at summer camp.
In adulthood, my children would spend the Canada-Day long weekend with friends at cottages they rented together.
But 2020 will be different. With COVID restrictions, there will be no cottage invites or rentals with friends. My children will be coming to our house for dinner. The day will be a throwback to earlier times when the whole family celebrated the day together.
We’re a bigger group now. Two of my sons have partners. There are two grandchildren and even a grand-dog. I’m planning a light, but festive summer dinner.
I’ll be making salmon, a dish I could never serve my children when they were young. Nobody ate fish then, but it’s a real crowd pleaser now.
My salmon recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Simple. The recipes include ratings according to their simplicity and prep time. Bridget Jones’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa is rated “S-I-E”: S – short on time; I – one to 10 ingredients or less; and E – easier than you think.
When I’ve made this dish, I have substituted pecans for pine nuts because the latter is expensive and hard to find.
I’ll also be making cornbread, a special-occasion dish. I found this recipe for Chive Cheese Cornbread on a site called Taste of Home https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chive-cheese-cornbreadChive
Sybil Eades of Gainesville, GA contributed this recipe, which offers a nice balance of sweet and savoury flavours.
BRIDGET JONES’S PAN-FRIED SALMON WITH PINE NUT SALSA (Yotam Ottolenghi)
¾ cup (185 ml) currants
4 salmon fillets, 1 lb 2 oz (500g), skin on and pin bones removed
7 tbsp (105 ml) olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
4 medium celery stalks, cut into ½-inch (1 cm ) dice, leaves removed but kept for garnish
¼ cup (60 ml) *pine nuts or pecans, roughly chopped
¼ cup (60 ml) capers, plus 2 tbsp (30 ml) of their brine
½ cup (125 ml) large green olives, pitted and cut into ½-inch (1 cm) dice (about 8)
1 good pinch or ¼ tsp (2 g) saffron threads, mixed with 1 tbsp (15 ml) hot water
1 cup (250 ml) parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon: finely zested to get 1 tsp (5 ml) then juiced to get 1 tsp (5 ml)
Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes while you prep the salmon and make the salsa.
Mix the salmon with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil, a rounded ¼ tsp (2 ml) salt, and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the salsa.
Put 5 tbsp (75ml) of the olive oil into a large sauté pan and place on a high heat. Add the celery and *pine nuts or pecans and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water, and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add these, along with the parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Put the remaining 15 ml (1 tbsp) of oil into a large frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Decrease the heat to medium, then flip the fillets over and continue to fry for 2–4 minutes (depending on how well done you like the salmon).
Remove the salmon from the pan and set aside. Arrange the salmon on four plates and spoon on the salsa. Scatter the celery leaves on top. Makes 4 servings
CHIVE CHEESE CORNBREAD (Sybil Eades)
1 cup (250 ml) cornmeal
1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
4 tsp (20 ml) baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) 2% milk
¼ cup (60 ml) butter, melted
1 cup (250 ml) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tbsp (45 ml) minced chives
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and butter. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Gently fold in the cheese and chives.
Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 9-in (23 x 33-cm) baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 18 minutes.
Cut into strips; serve warm. Makes 9–12 servings.
Barbara Silverstein is a Toronto-area journalist and an award-winning food writer. She was a freelance writer and food blogger for The Canadian Jewish News. Her articles have appeared in Homemakers Magazine, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Tablet Magazine.