Plenty of people talk about farm-to-table dining these days. But on Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands, it’s truly a way of life. And why not, when there is so much abundance to choose from? From the Comox Valley to the Cowichan to Salt Spring Island, you’ll find everything from truffles to tea, passion fruit to Pinot Noir, water buffalo to the most delicately briny oysters.
Island Eats is a tribute to the vibrant food culture of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and the celebration of a passionate culinary community built on the edge of a continent. Whether they’re shucking oysters and rolling pasta just for you, pouring you a glass of local wine, telling you about the best surf beach or hiking trail or the cool new craft brewery in town, the chefs, mixologists, and food artisans profiled in this cookbook have contributed to the heartfelt food traditions of a rare culinary destination.
Featuring more than 80 signature dishes, from a classic salmon chowder to island-foraged chantarelle risotto, apple pie waffles to bannock ice-cream sandwich, this inspired collection boasts locally-minded, soul-satisfying dishes that readers will want to make again and again.
Seared Scallops with Vancouver Island Root Succotash and Corn Purée
The sweet, earthy flavours of chef Ian Riddick’s succotash and corn purée are the perfect foil for the richness of the seared scallops.
1 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 cup skim or 2% milk
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (2 cups)
1 large celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (2 cups)
2 Tbsp canola oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup whipping (33%) cream
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
½ cup canola oil, plus extra if needed
20 large (10/20 size) fresh scallops, muscle removed
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Seasonal greens, like basil and sorrel leaves, to serve (optional)
Corn purée Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until shallots are softened and translucent. Add corn and milk, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt.
Using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. Add a little more salt if needed. Keep warm.
Succotash Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine squash, celeriac and oil and toss. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside.
In a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté bacon for 5 minutes, until fat has rendered and bacon begins to crisp. Drain excess bacon fat, leaving 2 tablespoons (enough to just coat the root vegetables).
Return pan to stove, reduce to medium heat and add squash, celeriac and whipping cream. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until cream has reduced by half. Stir in corn, then season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Scallops Heat oil to a depth of ¼ inch in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper, then add to the pan in batches (to avoid overcrowding). Sear scallops for 1 to 1½ minutes, until a golden brown crust forms. Flip scallop over and sear for another 1 to 1½ minutes, until browned and cooked medium-rare to medium. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to rest. Repeat with remaining scallops and top up with more oil, if necessary.
Assembly Divide the hot corn purée among 4 plates and spread out using the back of a spoon. Add succotash to the centre of each plate, then arrange 5 scallops on top. Garnish with season greens, (if using). Serve immediately.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing Inc.