Savour the Small This Summer
Chef Jason Parsons, from Peller Estates Winery would like to remind Canadians who love to treat themselves every now and then that it’s always better to choose quality over quantity, and that good things come in small packages. Parsons suggests that savouring bite-sized delights made with quality ingredients goes much further toward satisfying food indulgences than larger portions of lower-quality products.
“There’s a popular misconception out there that eating rich, flavourful food is something to feel guilty about,” says Parsons. “Food is meant to be enjoyed; it’s all about ingredients and moderation. Instead of devouring a large tub of average ice cream, indulge in richer, flavour-intense bites.” Parsons adds that in his role as chef, he has found serving a seven-course meal with small portions is often better received than the standard three-course meal. “I get to tantalize palates with so many more flavours, and every bite is savoured to the last morsel because patrons know there is a limited amount in each dish,” he says.
The co-author (with Massimon Capra and Michael Bonacini) of the popular 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men cookbook also says simplicity is the key to making the most of every dish. Don’t forget that complementing the main attraction of the dish with subtle seasonings and side dishes helps enhance it, and doesn’t take away from the food’s distinct flavour.
There’s a reason why tapas are so trendy and popular. We all love to see a variety of nibbles set before us. Granted, preparing a large quantity of courses is time-consuming. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Try planning and executing the prep over the course of a few days to a week; or, purchase already prepared dishes as much as possible. There’s no need to go overboard, though. Even five or six interesting small dishes are more than enough to entice your friends and family to slow down and savour.
Here’s one to get you started.
Sexy Olive Mix
Adapted from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps.
Makes 3 cups
3 cups assorted olives
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary, cut into 1 inch pieces
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.