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From the new "Okanagan Eats" cookbook: just BYOT (bring your own toast!)
Making the pilgrimage to the Okanagan to eat and drink and eat some more is a summer tradition for a good chunk of Western Canadians—but thanks to the new Okanagan Eat cookbook, which spotlights iconic local dishes from the region’s best chefs, we can dig into OK flavours year-round.
Recipes from Okanagan Eats by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari
At the Modest Butcher, one of the most popular dishes is Things on Toast, an open-faced sandwich that changes as the seasons do, topped with whatever is fresh and delicious right now. This incarnation is prepared with quick-pickled Okanagan peaches, grilled leeks, toasted hazelnuts, whipped goat feta and a thyme-scented white wine gastrique.
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pickling spice
¼ cup chopped dill
4 to 6 near-ripe Okanagan peaches, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Combine garlic, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pickling spice in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove pan from the heat. Stir in dill.
Place peaches in a non-reactive bowl, and set inside a larger bowl or sink filled with ice.
Pour enough pickling liquid over the peaches to cover. (The ice under the bowl will cool things quickly so the peaches don’t get mushy.) Set aside to cool to room temperature. Store the pickled peaches in an airtight container or in Mason jars, ensuring they are completely submerged in the pickling liquid, for up to 3 weeks.
Note: This quick-pickling method here works well for most garden veggies: radishes, cucumbers, onions, carrots or a combination.
1 small onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
¼ cup sliced, peeled ginger
Pinch of salt
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
10 to 12 sprigs thyme
1 cup Mt. Boucherie Pinot Gris
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Combine onions, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until well caramelized. Add star anise, cinnamon and thyme. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until aromatic. Pour in wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the saucepan.
Add sugar, vinegar and the orange juice and zest and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce is thick and syrupy. If it isn’t thick enough, cook a little longer; if it is too thick, thin out with a little water. (You are aiming for a maple syrup consistency.)
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing out the goodness to make sure you get it all.
2 cups Okanagan goat feta (preferably Carmelis)
Pinch of black pepper, plus extra to taste
½ cup heavy (36%) cream
Grated lemon zest or chopped herbs (optional)
Salt, to taste
Place feta into a food processor and pulse until crumbled. Season with pepper. With the motor still running, quickly add in heavy cream. Blend until spreadable, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add lemon zest or herbs (if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Whipped feta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Things on Toast assembly
1 cup hazelnuts
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and rinsed well
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 slices rustic sourdough
¼ cup whipped goat feta (see recipe on this page)
16 slices quick-pickled Okanagan peaches (see recipe on this page)
¼ cup thyme-scented gastrique (see recipe on this page)
Microgreens, edible flowers or baby lettuces, for garnish (optional)
Preheat a grill over high heat.
Toast hazelnuts in a dry frying pan for 8 to 10 minutes, until light brown and fragrant. Remove the skins and coarsely crumble under a heavy pan.
Pat leeks dry, then season with oil, salt and pepper. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until lightly coloured. Transfer to a chopping board and set aside to cool. Chop and keep warm.
Drizzle oil over each slice of bread and season with salt and pepper. Carefully toast on the grill, taking care not to burn. Remove bread from the grill and spread with whipped goat feta. Place on individual plates or a serving platter and top with grilled leeks, pickled peaches and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle with gastrique. Garnish with microgreens, edible flowers or baby lettuces (if using).
This story was originally published in the September 2023 print issue of Western Living magazine.
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