Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stardust, Summer Treats, Salmon Imperial

I am presently reading Stardust which I saw as a movie on the plane coming back from England at Christmastime. At first I found the book a bit boring and stilted, but now I am well into it, I am enjoying it. I absolutely loved the movie, particularly the part played by Robert de Niro as a gay pirate. He was brilliant in it. I wrote about the movie in this blog when I got back. It is a lovely story and although a faerie story, not exactly for children. I have come across a few bits and pieces not considered suitable for youngsters although most of them seem to know more swearwords than I do.

Sadly, Father's Day will soon be here, which may be great for fathers, but it heralds the end of asparagus season which will have me in withdrawal for another year. I do sometimes buy the asparagus in the stores, but it just isn't the same.

I guess fresh corn is the next thing to look forward to, although the best corn I have ever tasted was when we were visiting NC a couple of years ago, it was called "How Sweet It Is" and it was wonderful. The only way to eat corn is straight out of the field, unfortunately I don't have that luxury, but to be able to buy fresh local corn is so much better than anything else one can buy. Matt loves frozen corn cooked on the barbecue which caramalizes some of the kernels and does taste great. For some reason it doesn't work quite as well with fresh corn although if you soak it well before you cook it, it helps. We soak the frozen corn as well so which keeps it moist. I first ate barbecued corn in Greece where they had corn perched above the coals on home made barbecues at street corners. Like the chestnut vendors one used to see in London, England and certainly saw in Portugal. Nothing like buying a bag of roast chestnuts in the street. I never did in Portugal as I was always too full as the food was so good there. It brings back memories of Sunday afternoons in England using a chestnut roaster (not sure it wasn't really a bed pan) over an open fire and then burning one's fingers to get at the nut meats. Chestnuts are so much better roasted, but you can boil them which I do when I want to make chestnut stuffing for a turkey. The worst part of cooking chestnuts is making a split or gash in their skins first so they don't burst all over the place.

Our friends came back from North Carolina this weekend and visited yesterday to bring me my Nopalitos (pickled cactus leaves). Apparently it was the end of the strawberry season down there and they actually went picking. I remember one particular strawberry farm where they had the best berries we have had in years. We used to haunt the place the same as I haunt the asparagus farm here. I remember being in France and being given Plougastines for dessert one time with Crème Chantilly. They are little wood strawberries and the sweetest berries you can ever imagine. I remember berries being much sweeter anyway when I lived in the UK. Not sure why, perhaps increased production has tended to grow hardier plants but not necessarily better tasting plants. People tend to prefer perfection in appearance rather than quality of taste. Tomatoes are another case in point. In my personal opinion, the smooth, pretty tomatoes on the vine don't taste of anything. We used to buy tomatoes from a local farm in NC and they were not necessarily pretty but boy did they have a wonderful flavour. We used to pick our own and could get two good 5 gallon buckets for $5. Where I live, I can't seem to get really good tomatoes in season. I even asked at Barrie's Asparagus farm where they bought theirs and they said their supermarket!!! He did say he had tried growing them but not very successfully.

I don't often post a fish recipe, but I thought I would this morning. It can always be served with a nice helping of gently cooked asparagus on the side with a rhubarb dessert to follow. We both love seafood although in Ontario it is very expensive. We are so very far from the sea.

Broiled Salmon Imperial
Serves: 8

Source: Chatelaine

3 lbs fresh salmon steaks or fillets
2 tbs melted butter
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp anchovy paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp paprika

Place salmon on greased broiler. Combine rest of ingredients. Brush salmon with mixture. Broil 5 inches from heat for 6 mins. Turn salmon and brush with remaining butter sauce. Broil 5 mins or until fish flakes.

Have a great day.


  1. Strawberries, asparagus, corn, fresh salmon; yes, spring is here

  2. We get fresh salmon most of the year, but I don't guarantee that its not been frozen before we get to buy it. Its one of the things I looked forward to when we emigrated, salmon and asparagus. When we first got here we didn't find much of either and what salmon we got was too expensive for us. As I keep saying the nearest ocean is 1,000 miles away. There is a freshwater salmon but I don't like it very much. Took me over 30 years to find Barrie's Asparagus.