Taste dishes from some of Vancouver’s best restaurants with these recipes straight from the West Coast.
These recipes recreate dishes from some of Vancouver’s tastiest restaurants, as well as a gluten-free clafouti
Note to trend spotters: I just got back from a recent trip to the West Coast, where burnt flavours were abundant on menus. I enjoyed some very fine meals and was able to bring home some recipes from my favourite establishments.
Those include Vancouver’s Kissa Tanto, which specializes in Japaneseand Italian-inspired cooking and has won numerous awards. Rightfully so, as chef Joel Watanabe cooks with both heart and intelligence, producing tantalizing dishes in the process.
I wheedled out of him his outstanding recipe for carne cruda, which is essentially a beef tartare. The gnocchi frito is easy to do and stays firm for a few days, but skip it if you’re so inclined. Finding pickled Sichuan peppercorns proved to be difficult, so I used Chinese ones tossed in a little rice vinegar and then drained.
Some of Vancouver’s tastiest food also comes courtesy of Osteria Savio Volpe, which serves larger Italian sharing plates, family style. Chef Mark Perrier has a sure hand in the kitchen and his bagna cauda with vegetables comes with dip that I could drink. I’m featuring his simple but delicious kale salad, which will soon be your new favourite starter.
Last but not least was Stonehouse, a wonderful B & B on Salt Spring Island, where proprietor Michael Coughlin seduces with warm hospitality and standout baking. Coughlin’s has celiac disease and so only does gluten-free baking, which I did not realize until he told me on the last day of our visit.
His secret is Cup4Cup flour, originally developed by Thomas Keller of French Laundry, which you can sub into most regular recipes without an issue. He shared his recipe for clafouti, which is one of the best I have ever had and is gluten-free: He served it for breakfast, but here I offer it as an easy dessert. Change the fruit at will.
KISSA TANTO’S CARNE CRUDA
› Serves 2 (doubles easily)
3 oz beef tenderloin
1 tbsp burnt soy sauce (recipe follows)
1 tbsp high quality extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 Asian pear, finely diced 1⁄2 tsp Arima sansho-pickled Japanese peppercorns, or Chinese Sichuan peppercorns
1 radish, thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1⁄4 cup sunflower sprouts
Cut meat into cubes about 4 mm by 4 mm. Mix with burnt soy, olive oil and salt to taste. Make a flattish mound on a plate roughly like a hamburger. Cut pear into small cubes. Garnish meat with Asian pear, peppercorns, thinly sliced radish, finely grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano and sprouts. Serve with gnocchi frito.
Burnt soy sauce: › Makes 1 ⁄2 cup
1⁄2 cup Japanese soy sauce 3 green onions
Trim root ends of green onions. Broil on a foil-lined baking sheet until completely charred, about eight minutes, flipping midway. Blend soy sauce and charred green onions until completely smooth. Gnocchi frito: › Makes about 24 gnocchi frito 1⁄3 cup lukewarm water 1 tsp instant yeast
1⁄2 tsp sugar
12⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp rendered beef fat, duck fat or bacon fat, chilled
1⁄4 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Add yeast and sugar to water. Let sit until foaming, about five minutes. Combine flour, fat and salt in a food processor and pulse together. Add water into mixture slowly until a dough forms. Transfer to a counter, then knead together a few times. Place ball in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk about 11⁄2 hours.
Heat oil to a depth of 11⁄2 inches in a small wok or pot. Heat until about 350 F – a cube of bread will brown in 20 seconds. Roll dough on a floured board to 1⁄8-inch thickness and cut into two-inch squares. Fry until golden, puffed and crisp, about three to four minutes, turning occasionally for an even colour.
OSTERIA SAVIO VOLPE’S KALE SALAD
4 packed cups dinosaur kale leaves 2 tbsp toasted breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated pecorino cheese
Lemon peppery dressing:
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
cup toasted breadcrumbs cup grated pecorino cheese
Thinly slice kale leaves. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.
Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and dressing. Toss with kale, massaging it a bit into the leaves.
Garnish with more breadcrumbs and pecorino.
› Serves 6 to 8
Butter to grease pan Gluten-free flour to coat pan 3 cups fresh berries
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional 1 cup whipping cream
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract 1⁄2 cup gluten-free flour 1⁄2 tsp baking powder 1⁄2 tsp salt
Mint leaves for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a 10-inch cake pan or skillet with butter, then dust with flour. Layer berries or fruit across base of pan. Scatter over walnuts.
Whisk together cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt then whisk into cream mixture until combined. Pour the mixture over the fruit. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 35 minutes until golden and puffy.
Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes while the top settles. Serve warm slices garnished with extra fruit and mint leaves.
From top, Joel Watanabe’s carne cruda, Mark Perrier’s kale salad and Michael Coughlin’s clafouti are some of the delicious trend-setting dishes to be had in British Columbia.