Salmon is a big hit around my house. I can sear it, grill it, roast it, and every time my whole family loves it. There are different species of salmon (in this recipe I used “Spring” or Chinook Salmon, which has a lovely fattiness and mild flavour) but any will do for a recipe like this. I love baking fish in puff pastry, as it looks super impressive when brought out to the table, as if the cook spent hours slaving over the dish. In reality, as long as you have some good puff pastry available (store bought is fine), this dish doesn’t take very long to make, and can even be assembled a day ahead! I like to serve this with a light salad and a mayonnaise-based sauce on the side (see recipe below), but a butter-based sauce (like a beurre blanc or a hollandaise) works beautifully here as well.
1 lb fresh salmon fillet, skin removed
to taste salt and pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped and divided in two
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups button mushroom, sliced
a splash vermouth (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 lb spinach leaves, washed
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg (for egg wash)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Season the salmon fillet on either side with salt and pepper. Brush the top side with the Dijon mustard, then sprinkle the mustard side with 1 tbsp of chopped dill. Set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over a medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. Add the mushrooms to the sauté pan and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their juices and are wilted: about 5 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and the vermouth (if using), then add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and stir frequently until the spinach has wilted. Transfer the cooked mushrooms and spinach to the towel-lined baking tray to cool and drain.
- Lay the first sheet of puff pastry down on a cutting board. Once the spinach mixture is cool to the touch, spoon it into a square in the center of the puff pastry. Place the salmon fillet on top of the vegetables and gently press down. Make the egg wash by beating the egg well with 1 tbsp of cold water, then using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on the pastry all around the salmon and vegetables. Lay the second sheet of puff pastry on top of the salmon and let it drape on top of the first sheet of pastry. Use your fingers to form the top sheet of pastry around the fish, and seal the pastry, trying not to leave gaps of air between the fish and the dough. Use a knife to trim the dough into a square around the fish, leaving a 1 inch border.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large spatula, transfer the pie onto the center of the sheet. If you want, you can decorate the top of the pie with the excess pastry dough you trimmed, or even lightly score the top of the pie to resemble fish scales. Brush more egg wash all over the completed pie, then place in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown all over, and an internal thermometer stuck into the center of the pie read 165°F. Remove and cool slightly before slicing and serving.
There are a few methods to make this sauce, but for ease I use a pre-made mayonnaise and just add things to it to spice it up. Super fast and easy, this sauce goes well with steamed vegetables like asparagus, peas, and green beans as well as the Salmon en Croûte!
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 hard boiled egg, yolk and white separated and chopped
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tbsp cornichons, chopped
1 pickled onion, chopped (optional – I use the pickled onion that comes in the cornichon jar)
- Mix all of the ingredients together and serve in a side bowl.
Writing and photography by Graham Duncan
Creamy, tangy beef stroganoff’s heyday may have been the mid-twentieth century but, based on what we hear across the counter, there are still lots of people cooking it in the early twenty-first century.
The really fun part of doing this recipe was being able to use an all-Sanagan’s shopping list thanks to our new selection of specialty and imported ingredients. And here’s the thing — you get what you pay for. I made this dish twice; once with bulk store paprika and supermarket sour cream and then again with our Spanish Chiquilin Bittersweet Paprika and Sheldon Creek Sour Cream. Day and night! The bulk store paprika has a one-note, chalky, charred red pepper taste. The Chiquilin has a layered, blooming flavour with an emphasis on the bitter. Its finish is long, tasting not unlike a quality Mescal (seriously). The supermarket sour cream (14% milk fat) has four different emulsifiers/ stabilizers listed as ingredients. Our Sheldon Creek sour cream (8% milk fat) has only two ingredients: whole milk and bacterial culture. It’s thicker, creamier and packs way more of a sour punch.
The stroganoff was further improved by our La Molisana Egg Nest Pasta which, like a sitcom dad, is firm yet yielding, and the piquant garnish of Viniteau Cornichons.
The following recipe is mostly lifted from Pierre Franey’s New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet (1979) cookbook which is a fantastic collection of unfussy French-American recipes and techniques. My major variation is the meat. Beef tenderloin, stroganoff’s traditional cut, is a wonderful steak but experience at the store proves many customers are looking for more affordable alternatives.
My first go at the dish featured top sirloin which emulates the gentle flavour and fine grain of tenderloin. But through the dish’s two-part cooking process, I found the sirloin got a little stiff. My second attempt utilized flat iron which was more tender but its broader, more mineral flavour was unmistakable. My wife votes for strog-sirloin-off. I vote for strog-flat iron-off. Either way — yum!
If you’re serving this over noodles, as photographed, you may want to increase the quantities of both the sour cream and the wine slightly, just to sauce things up a bit. Or serve with the noodles, rice or fried potatoes on the side. Once you’ve done all your preparation, the whole dish only takes about seven minutes to cook, so make sure you’ve got your sides timed accordingly.
1 lb beef steak cut into stir-fry-sized strips. If using flat-iron, flank etc., be sure to slice across the grain.
1 tbsp paprika
to taste salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cornichons finely diced
- Measure sour cream into a medium-sized bowl and bring to room temperature. (Approximately two hours.)
- Blend together in a bowl the beef, paprika and salt and pepper.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add oil. Sauté the beef, stirring frequently. Try to ensure that all surfaces get a nice sear. This should take only two to three minutes. If your pan isn’t big enough, cook the beef in two stages. Crowding the pan will stop the beef from browning. Transfer the meat to a warm plate.
- If the pan appears dry, add a little more oil, and fry the onion, stirring, for one minute.
- Add the wine and reduce by half.
- Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Blend contents of the pan into the bowl of sour cream, stirring gently to create a sauce.
- Return sauce and the beef to the frying pan over low heat, gently warm the stroganoff. Here is where you need to decide how hot you want to serve the dish. If you’re like me and have been raised on the possibly provincial idea that hot food has to be HOT, you may cause the sour cream to separate. If this happens, don’t worry, it’s still going to taste great. But if you can embrace a warm stroganoff, it’s going to be creamier.
- Serve as desired and garnish with diced cornichons.
photos and writing by Graham Duncan
Oktoberfest has a reputation for causing some post-celebration un-wellness. But in 2020, hefting steins and singing arm-in-arm has entirely different health implications and Oktoberfest had to be cancelled.
But it’s still October and there’s nothing stopping you from Getting Yer Ja Ja’s Out and celebrating all things Bavarian, at home, distantly, with masks on, with the windows open, if you all get tested, and inject some disinfectant…OH C’MON — CHEER UP! Any excuse to cook up some sausages and sauerkraut is a good one and Sanagan’s has you covered like a massive beer tent.
Kitchener-Waterloo hosts the world’s second largest Oktoberfest, so it’s not surprising that neighbouring St. Jacobs is home to some pretty great sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. St. Jacobs Foods version is naturally fermented using only salt and water and is loaded with healthy probiotics. This simple recipe translates into fresh and snappy flavours and textures.
St. Jacobs sauerkraut is perfect for braising and just demands to adorn grilled sausage on a bun. It’s the dynamics of the sauerkraut’s acidic tang commingling with pork’s luxurious fat. Please see my recipe below for simple and delicious traditional braised sauerkraut.
Ah, but upon what sausage, you may ask, shall the sauerkraut lay? Here’s a trio of tubes that will offer a lot of bun fun and will never sour your ‘kraut. And regardless of what wiener’s your winner, be sure to spread some Sanagan’s mustard on that sausage.
Sikorski Vienna Wieners
Made by the London-based, family-owned deli meat producers, these pork and veal wieners are like deluxe hot dogs. When you bite them, the casing snaps, yielding up the tender meaty goodness within. Grillable, boilable, steamable fryable, irresistible.
Sikorski Debrecyna Sausage
These naturally smoked prepared sausages are customer favourites for evocations of Eastern Europe and offer up a little more heft than their Viennese counterparts when it comes to pairing with sauerkraut. As with the Vienna wieners, when you’re cooking these, all that’s required is to heat them through.
Made in-house with our fresh family-farmed pork and natural casings, these German-style sausages are seasoned with a veritable spice box including coriander, clove, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and marjoram. It all adds up to a balanced classic and, for me, was the best match with the sauerkraut. Like all of our raw house-made sausages, grill these with a gentle heat so as to not split the natural casings.
Serves 4 as a side dish
3 small yellow onions, peeled and sliced
500 gm sauerkraut
1 tart apple, peeled and grated
1tbsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
to taste ground pepper
1 cup chicken stock
As required beer or white wine
- Preheat over to 325°F
- (Optional) rinse the sauerkraut with water and drain, squeezing the water out of the sauerkraut. The more rinses, the milder the taste.
- Melt butter in a large over-proof frying pan. The pan will later require a lid.
- Add onions and fry at medium-low heat until translucent.
- Blend sauerkraut into the onions and and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Add caraway, bay leaf and pepper.
- Add the stock and enough wine and/or beer to almost cover the sauerkraut
- Simmer for 1/2 hour on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.
- Cover the pan and cook in the oven for another 1/2 hour.
- At this point the sauerkraut should have absorbed almost all the liquid. If there remains an excess of liquid in the pan, this can be quickly cooked off at medium-high heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly.
- Serve the sauerkraut with your favourite sausages! Prost!
As the sunny and hot days wind down, and people start moving indoors to do their cooking, it is wise to remember that grilling still produces some of the tastiest meals imaginable. And really, unless it’s minus 10 outside you can still get the grill fired up for steaks, chops, or in this case, a semi-boneless half chicken. I use a technique here where I weigh the chicken down while cooking with the skin side down. The result is a slightly charred and crispy bird that is moist and flavourful. Serve with some roasted vegetables and a refreshing salad.
¾ tbsp harissa paste
½ tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp ground coriander
½ tbsp ground fennel
½ tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
½ tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil to blend
1 whole chicken, split in half, spine, rib bones, and thigh bone removed
to serve lemon wedges and olive oil
- In a work bowl, mix all of the ingredients (other than the chicken) together. Spread the marinade over the two halves of chicken and place in a dish, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours, or up to two days.
- Preheat your grill on a medium high heat. If using charcoal, set the coals in the center of the grill so the heat distributes evenly.
- Place the chickens skin side down in the center of the grill. Cover with a sheet or two of aluminum foil, then place a baking sheet or roasting pan on top. Fill up a couple of pots of water to use as weights and sit them on top of the baking sheet. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until an internal thermometer plunged into the thick area of the drum read 165°F.
- Remove the weights, baking sheet, and aluminum foil. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, skin side up. Slice the meat into 1” slices and place on a platter. Serve with lemon wedges and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
This classic Hungarian dish will warm your body and soul as the days get shorter and the evenings get chillier. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you want, depending on the type of paprika you use (since I’m feeding a child, I use a mild paprika). No matter which type you use, try to get the freshest paprika available. That means that if you're staring at the jar that you may have bought when you graduated university, it may be time for a new jar. Unless you’re a recent graduate, in that case congratulations! Make this dish part of your adult repertoire – you’ll want to make it a few times throughout the year, believe me! Serve with simple buttered egg noodles, as is tradition in Hungary.
3 bell peppers
3 plum tomatoes
1 whole chicken, backbone removed, cut into ten even pieces
to taste salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 bacon slices, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp mild paprika (or hot if you’re feeling spicy)
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Roast the peppers, either under the broiler or over the gas flame on a stove top, turning frequently until the skin is blackened and charred. Set in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool to the touch (about 30 minutes). Peel the skin and cut out the seeds and core, then cut the pepper into 1” strips. Set aside for the time being.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over a high heat. Cut the core out of the tomatoes, then score the bottom of the tomato with a small “x”. Fill a bowl with ice water. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds, then immediately drain and drop the tomatoes into the ice water to cool. Remove the cooled tomatoes and use a paring knife to peel the skin (they should slip right off). Quarter the tomatoes and discard the seeds.
- Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. In a large heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of the butter. Working in batches, brown the chicken well, about five minutes per side. Set the chicken aside and repeat until all the chicken is browned and set aside. Lower the heat to medium low.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Add the remaining tbsp of butter to the pot, then the onions, bacon, garlic, and paprika. Stir well, scraping the bits of cooked chicken from the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and sweat the onions and bacon until translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the browned chicken, the roasted pepper strips, and the quartered tomatoes to the pot with the chicken stock; stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in oven. Braise for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken pieces only from the pot and set aside. Bring the pot to a simmer over a medium heat. In a work bowl, whisk together the flour, sour cream, and whipping cream until combined. Whisk the cream mixture into the simmering broth, and bring back to a simmer, cooking for two minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for an additional ten minutes. Serve on hot buttered egg noodles, with the extra sauce on the side.
by Graham Duncan
As a born and raised white bread Scarberian, my formative encounters with offal were limited to servings of beef liver fired in the merciless crucible of my mother’s English-Canadian kitchen. Monotone grey and barely pliable, they more resembled orthotics than dinner. This formative trauma overshadowed my adult life with “variety meats” until once, in Venice, I ordered Fegato alla Veneziana (liver Venetian style). And I loved it.
Now, working in one of Canada’s best butcher shops with our culinarily engaged and culturally diverse clientele, I really have to up my offal game. So, I am returning to Fegato alla Veneziana as a gateway into organ meats.
Fegato alla Veneziana is usually made with veal liver which has a milder flavour than beef liver. Peter and Brian have been striving for years to find a reliable source of veal that conforms to our sourcing criteria but that supplier remains elusive. What to do? Option 1) Mellow the strong flavours in beef liver by soaking it in milk. Option 2) (as suggested by Peter), substitute the milder flavoured chicken or duck livers. Option 3) Embrace the full livery flavour of beef liver, as many of our customers do.
This recipe is further Sanagan-ized by the use of Giusti White Label Balsamic Vinegar from our new selection of fine imported ingredients.
In keeping with the version I enjoyed in Venice, I served the following with simple polenta.
photo by Graham Duncan
Fegato alla Veneziana
1 lb liver: calf, beef, chicken or duck. Beef liver may be soaked on the day of, or overnight, in milk. Dry the liver of excess milk before slicing.
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 small yellow onions, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp chopped parsley
To taste salt and pepper
- If using calf or beef liver, cut into 1/2” thick strips, ensuring that the liver is free of membrane and veins. Sanagan’s beef liver has the membrane removed by our butchers. If using poultry liver, leave whole.
- Slice onions into thin rounds.
- Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Here is a rare instance where a non-stick frying pan may be favourable due to liver’s propensity to scorch on a steel pan.
- Add onions and bay leaf and sweat until the onions are soft and golden brown.
- Add vinegar, stir well, and season to taste. Set onions aside.
- Return pan to the stove. Set to medium-high heat and add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, sear the liver for one or two minutes until golden brown on both sides. You want the liver lightly seared on the outside while maintaining a touch of pink on the inside.
- When all the liver’s cooked, turn the heat down to low, return the onions to the pan, and mix with the liver. Check seasoning. Gently stir until the onions are reheated, approximately two minutes. Set aside on a platter and keep warm.
- Deglaze pan with 3 tbsp of butter, and add parsley.
- Plate the liver and onions. Drizzle parsley butter over each serving.
By: Graham Duncan
Not long ago my wife and I shared a Sanagan’s cote de boeuf. We were on our own at an 100-year-old cottage in Muskoka. There was red wine, there was salad and there was that majestic slab of 50-day dry aged rib steak. It was an absolutely simple and memorable dinner, as a meal can be when it features ingredients of the highest standard.
So the question is, what makes dry aged beef such a significant culinary experience?
Dry aging has been part of carnivorism for as long as humans have understood that changes occur to an animal’s flesh after it dies, the most obvious example being rigor mortis. For centuries beef and game have benefitted from various forms of controlled aging. While modern processing techniques sidestepped the procedure, nothing can replicate the flavours and textures resulting from the painstaking tradition of professionally dry aged beef.
Sanagan’s dry aging fridge is a funky place indeed. In this low temperature, moderate humidity environment sub primals (bulk cuts) of bone-in rib and strip loin sections bide their time, slowly growing crusty exteriors that will later be trimmed away. During this period our friends, the enzymes go to work .
Enzymes are molecules that accelerate chemical reactions in cells. With beef, enzyme actions enhance flavour by converting: proteins into savoury amino acids; glycogen into sweet glucose; and fat and fat-like membranes into aromatic fatty acids. At the same time, they’re working their magic on tenderness too, breaking down collagen fibres.
But what age is the perfect age? 28-days is the steakhouse standard (or that’s when your steak turns into a zombie). Some establishments probe the outer reaches of aging with 120-day-old rib steaks, all gnarled up like Yoda. Assistant head butcher Christopher Spencer, who’s been overseeing the Sanagan’s dry aging program since 2018 explains our process: “We experimented; just a lot of testing. Anything more than 60 to 70 days gets very cheesy. We found that 40 to 50 days achieves a good balance of accessible aged flavour”.
And just what is that aged flavour? I think the only way to describe it is steak-ier. Those elements of savoury juicy succulence that makes your mouth water when you think of a steak are all refined in a dry age steak. There’s oxidized fat lending aromatic depth, all the gelatinized protein (enzymes!) creating that melt-in-your-mouth thing, the absolutely indescribable flavours of age; you know like wine, like cheese. If you’re familiar with the concept of umami, that gives you an idea. But really, words don’t do the trick. You’ve got to try it for yourself. But you’ll have to find your own cottage.
Lamb shoulder is a delicious treat, and generally needs to be slowly cooked for a few fours in a bit of liquid to tenderize the meat. In this recipe, I simply use water and let the marinade season the lamb, then use the cooking broth to poach potatoes and onion to serve alongside the lamb. Put some tzatziki, pita bread, and a fresh Greek salad on the side, and you’re all set for a fantastic Sunday meal.
Note: The souvlaki marinade goes great on kebabs, obviously, but also works as a marinade for whole chickens, pork shoulders, etc. Store in the fridge for up to a month.
1 lamb shoulder, bone in, trimmed of excess fat and elastic-like back strap (alternately, you can use a boneless lamb shoulder)
4 tbsp souvlaki marinade (see recipe below)
6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾” thick rounds
2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced into ¾” thick rounds
2 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- Score the lamb shoulder in a crosshatch pattern at 2” intervals. Rub the marinade all over the lamb, pressing in to get into the depths of the scored meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least overnight, but up to three days.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Place the lamb in a deep roasting pan, and fill the pan ½ way with hot water. Cover the roast with tin foil and place in oven to cook for 3 hours, or until the meat pulls easily away from the bone. Take the roast out of the pan and rest, covered with a tea towel to keep warm.
- Pour the roasting juices into a pot. Add the potatoes and onion, and top up with hot water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a pair of tongs or a fork, pull the lamb meat away from the shoulder bones. Give the meat a very rough chop (you want the meat to be serving-size).
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and onions and place in a serving bowl. Add the lamb meat to the pot with the broth, toss in the herbs, and stir well. Bring to a light simmer over a medium heat, then place in a serving bowl next to the potatoes. Serve immediately.
Makes about 300 ml
4 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1.5 tbsp dried oregano
6 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp hot mustard
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp paprika
- Blend all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
This is normally a time of year when parents are getting kids back to school, and dinner has to get to the table quickly and efficiently. This is definitely a strange year, but the idea of a quick and easy dinner is still very appealing to most people. And this one is a fantastic recipe to use up leftover corn. Ontario corn harvested in August and September is some of the sweetest in the world, and if you’re like me you eat it two or three times per week. Inevitably I’m left with a few ears in my fridge. This recipe takes care of those lickity-split!
6 chicken legs, whole
2 tbsp all purpose seasoning (you can use any brand you prefer; I’m partial to the Butcher’s Seasoning from Cured Smokehouse in Prince Edward County)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 ears corn, shucked and boiled to cook through, then chilled
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp smoked paprika
To taste salt and pepper
1 tbsp chives
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- In a work bowl, season the chicken legs with the all-purpose seasoning and rub in the olive oil. Lay the chicken legs on a parchment paper-lined baking tray, skin side up, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and an internal thermometer plunged into the meatiest part of the leg reads 165°F.
- Meanwhile, make the corn. Use a knife to carefully cut swaths of the kernels of cooked and chilled corn away from the cob. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the corn and stir well to break up the kernels. Season with the smoked paprika and salt and pepper, stirring well so the paprika emulsifies with the butter. Warm the corn through, then mix in the chives.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and serve immediately with the corn.