1537 Barrington Street, Halifax , Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 1Z41.902.420.9626
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Watercress and Summer Leek Soup with Seared Salmon, Creme Fraiche and CaviarI love cooking with summer leeks. They have less of the stiff green top and more of the tender white bottoms than their winter cousins. Their flavours are more subtle than other members of the onion family and they do not have an adverse effect on your breath. This soup is very simple and quick to make and can be made vegetarian by omitting the fish garnish. Or you can substitute char, sea trout, or even a white-fleshed fish like halibut or sturgeon. The possibilities are endless. The “caviar” or salmon roe is found or attainable at most good fish markets.Seafood ChowderChowder may be the most stereotypical dish on any restaurant menu in Nova Scotia, and that’s because everyone who likes seafood loves chowder. Here, competitions are held for chowder glory and everyone thinks their mother makes the best. This is my shot at perfect chowder — free of pomp and ceremony, but full of the best seafood in the province. The innovation is the pureed soup base, to which the seafood is added. For most chowders, I serve tea biscuits or good warm bread and garnish with some freshly ground black pepper.Roasted Root Vegetables and Ham Hock SoupYou could realistically call this soup “winter cellar veggie soup” as it features all those things we have plenty of all winter long in Nova Scotia. If you omit the ham hock and use only vegetable stock, you’ll have a delicious vegetarian version.A dedicated meat eater, I do love the warm and satisfying meal that this soup provides — with all of the ingredients. You can garnish it with a drizzle of maple syrup, balsamic vinegar or melted butter, or with pieces of honey-roasted carrot. Paired with a piece of buttered bread or a biscuit, this is a classic stick-to-your-ribs winter treat.Finnan HaddieThe Scots who moved to Cape Breton introduced this chowder-like soup to Nova Scotia, and if you visit any pub in Scotland, you’ll still find this dish on the menu. Marie Nightingale wrote about finnan haddie in 1970, when Out of Old Nova ScotiaKitchens was first published. After several trips to Scotland and lots of “work-related” research, I created this version.Corn “Off the Cob” SoupThis soup takes a little work but it will convert any corn-chowder lovers. The intensity of the corn flavour is heightened by using the cobs to make the broth and by using cornmeal to thicken the soup. Essentially this is a very, very loose Italian polenta. Milk gives the soup a corn chowder essence, but for those with lactose concerns, it works equally well without. In early autumn fresh, locally-grown corn is available almost everywhere.
"Cooking locally and seasonally isn't a trend. It's the way it's always been. And this will always be true of great food.