Great Food of the Maritimes

By / Food / August 7th, 2013 / 3

An incomparable piece of Canada’s geographic wealth is, sans doubte, the historic and culinary heaven called the Maritimes. Locals, proud of their Acadian ancestry, and urban refugees who came for the unique, unspoiled quality of the region, offer fabulous local seafood and share its abundance through a significant number of eco-sensitive producers.

Seafood from these cold, pristine Atlantic waters is truly remarkable. While our first thoughts may connect with fishing for the king Homanus Americanus, the wild lobster, the enormous bounty from the Bay of Fundy includes scallops, succulent wild halibut and haddock, even tuna and swordfish. And throughout the region, in addition to well-known ecological certified salmon farming, steelhead trout and clams abound.

Part of PEI’s fame comes from Malpeque Bay, home of its unparalleled oysters that have been gathered using the same traditional methods for more than a century now. Near Yarmouth, EOL Lake Oyster Co and iGrow Oysters have used the Internet to spread the word of their super premium product, which is now offered in four-star restaurants in New York, Boston and around the world. Imagine, six years ago they were relatively unknown. This is where tradition meets modern savoir-faire.

In the coastal areas you’ll find ideal conditions for growing blue mussels, and there are now many producers of these succulent aqua-farmed jewels, as the cold clear waters are a perfect source of nourishment that results in large size, pure flavour and a consistently high quality mussel.

Only by driving (or cycling) through the area can you get that unique feeling from almost touching that unspoiled quality of centuries past. For the food lover, a romantic taste of the Maritimes is the Garrison House Inn, in Annapolis Royal, an utterly charming (and affordable) seven-room inn that has become a National Historic Site. For the purist gourmet, it’s the finest dining in the region. Patrick Redgrave is an amazingly talented chef (and innkeeper) who has combined the old-world Maritimes with new and exciting food. Here are two of his favourite recipes.

grilled fillet of salmon with caper and dill yogurt sauce

Canada of the Maritimes

Rating: 51

Serves: serves 2

Suggestion for vegetables: the Inn uses French haricot beans, steamed and tossed in unsalted butter and baby potatoes roasted in garlic, summer savoury and salt and pepper.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 lb salmon fillets, preferably thick
  • Sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat until cooked, but not browned.
  2. Add capers and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Continue stirring and raise heat to medium/high.
  3. Add white wine and allow to reduce, then turn heat to low. Add fresh ground pepper to taste (approx. 1/4 tsp), then fold in yogurt and dill and gently heat to serving temperature when salmon is cooked (do not bring to a boil as yogurt sauce may separate) .
  4. Pre-heat barbecue to 425?F. Wire brush and oil grill.
  5. Gently wash and pat dry salmon fillets. Rub them all over with any high-temp smoking oil (i.e. canola, vegetable etc.) and season with ground pepper and sea salt.
  6. Place skin-side up on the grill and close lid. Time elapsed before turning will depend on the thickness of the fillet, but turn over when the colour of the cooked part of the salmon is just less than half (3 to 4 minutes). Place on warmed plates and spoon sauce over the salmon.
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seared scallops with pear vinaigrette

Canada of the Maritimes

Rating: 51

Serves: serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cored, peeled ripe pear (your favourite kind)
  • 1 tbsp fresh French tarragon, torn
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp frozen concentrated orange juice
  • 1/2 small head of radicchio, roughly chopped
  • 1 small fennel, finely sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup mizuno (if not available, use mixed greens)
  • 12 large scallops
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Purée first 6 ingredients to form a vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Add 1/2 cup vinaigrette and toss. Place on 2 large plates.
  3. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tbsp butter in large heavy non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
  4. Add 12 scallops and sauté until browned on both sides and opaque in centre, approx. 1 minute per side.
  5. Toss the scallops with the rest of the vinaigrette and place them on top of the plated salad.

Drink Suggestion:

Great with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Torrontés.

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