FOOD Quest for sea­sonal sal­ads

Ottawa Magazine - - Contents - Sum­mer Sal­ads By Cindy Deachman

Your salad days are here and you’re in Nice, sit­ting next to the foun­tain in Place Masséna, en­joy­ing a salade niçoise. Then off to Palermo, Si­cily. On the steps of the grand opera house Teatro Mas­simo, early for the per­for­mance of — well, it doesn’t mat­ter. But this does: your grilled-pep­per salad with an­chovies and capers. Now on to Is­tan­bul for a lit­tle history. The Sü­ley­maniye Li­brary keeps an orig­i­nal man­u­script of a cook­book writ­ten 800 years ago, when Bagh­dad was the largest and per­haps wealth­i­est city in the world. Writen by Muham­mad bin Hasan al-Bagh­dadi, Kitab al-Tabikh in­cludes tra­di­tional pre-Is­lamic recipes from Iran. One de­scribes a cu­cum­ber salad gar­nished with roasted fowl and dressed with ver­juice pressed from sour fruits. The dish is spiced with cumin, cin­na­mon, and fresh herbs. Your salad days go a long way back, don’t they?

Cae­sar Salad

“Din­ers do come for the per­for­mance,” says head waiter Rad Daher. “They re­ally do ap­pre­ci­ate that the salad is made fresh.” Cus­tomers re­turn many times to Hy’s Steak­house just for that cae­sar salad, tossed ta­ble­side. The plea­sure is so rarely seen: Hy’s is pos­si­bly the only Ot­tawa res­tau­rant of­fer­ing this quiet theatre. Of course, the may­on­naise is pre­pared prop­erly, adding olive oil drop by drop. And, says Daher, “It’s im­por­tant to toss the ro­maine be­fore adding the parme­san.” Leaves are glis­ten­ing, crou­tons light and crunchy — and the gar­lic roars out. Com­fort me with a well­made cae­sar. $13.95. Hy’s Steak­house, 170 Queen St., 613-234-4545.

Mixed Seafood Salad

Near the city of Phuket in south­ern Thai­land, you’ll find a trop­i­cal ever­green for­est with a se­cluded beach — and a slight chance of meet­ing wild pigs or retic­u­lated pythons. By con­trast, Ot­tawa’s Chi­na­town seems se­date. But don’t be so sure. Res­tau­rant Phuket Royal serves its ver­sion of yum talay, or seafood salad, full of ten­der shrimp, scal­lops, and squid. Per­fect for sul­try weather, it’s dressed with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and fresh red chilies. This yum talay bites you. Elec­tric! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. $12.95. Phuket Royal, 713 Som­er­set St. W., 613-235-3134.

Tomato Salad

A sim­ple tomato salad: fine field toma­toes, peeled and sliced, dressed with le­mon juice. That’s how the Shakers do it. Or pre­pare it as Fauna owner/chef Jon Svazas does: use five dif­fer­ent kinds of de­hy­drated veg­etable flavour­ings, three fresh herbs, and one de­hy­drated grain. How­ever, such prepa­ra­tions are dif­fi­cult to repli­cate at home. Svazas says he likes to make things “sim­ple, but not sim­ply.” With the dust of capers, smoked pep­pers, and green onions, not to men­tion licorice-like olives and mild, creamy Per­sian feta, this un­der­stated dish charms. $14. Fauna, 425 Bank St., 613-563-2862.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.