This post is about the spruce tip. Click "Read More" to find out what it is, when to pick it, and to get some inspiration for what to do with it in your kitchen.
And its story doesn’t end here. The mysterious wakame leads a second life: one in the kitchen, where it has played an incredible role in cooking traditions going back hundreds of years. Wakame and other seaweeds are essential ingredients in dashi, the Japanese stock which forms the basis of many of that nation’s favourite soups and stews. It was seaweed that led researchers to discover the so-called “fifth taste,” umami, which has since been found in many other foods like Parmesan cheese and cured meats.
This post is the first in a series about edible seaweeds. I’ll let you know what I’ve learned from my recent adventures out to the frozen beaches of Newfoundland in search of sea vegetables - and what I’ve done with them back at home to prepare them as ingredients for food.
“In Newfoundland, fish means codfish and nothing else.”
So goes a passage in The New Founde Lande, Farley Mowat’s loving memoir and history of Newfoundland. I had picked up the dusty hardcover from a used bookstore in Ottawa. Something to read on my trip back home to the island. But reading that passage got me thinking. I had never been jigging for codfish in my life. What kind of Newfoundlander was I? Later I found out that lots of Newfoundlanders these days have never been jigging, but at that moment I was struck with inspiration. “B'y jeezus,” I thought, “I need to go out and catch a fish.” And so that’s exactly what I did. This post is about the Atlantic Cod and what I learned from the Newfoundland food fishery. (Turns out, a lot.)
The Atlantic cod is at home in the icy banks of the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s got antifreeze in its blood. A beautiful fish: leopard spots and on olive green back, white belly and a long elegant stripe down its flank that streamlines it with the frigid water. Five fins that unfurl like the sails of schooners that used to fish for them on the Grand Banks. An idiosyncratic whisker-like barbel sticks off its chin. King of the whitefish, its flesh is the purest white you’ll ever see. From the Vikings and Basques right up to modern North American and European fishing fleets, cod has been fished off Newfoundland for over a thousand years. Cod trade with Europe is what lured the first inhabitants to Newfoundland’s rocky harbors. Which begs the question: is there any single animal more important to Newfoundland than the cod?
Chanterelles are still in full swing in Newfoundland.
August in Newfoundland. Prime time for mushrooms.
This week's post is about wild mushrooms, and particularly one delightful variety: the chanterelle. Yes, that peachy little trumpet that sells for $60/pound* at the grocery store grows all over this province - for free! And you can find it yourself... if you know where to look. And once you bring it into your kitchen? Well, that's where the magic begins.
Ready? I'm going to share some fantastic ideas for meals and I'll equip you with the know-how to forage your own chanterelles. Read more and click on the photos to find recipes.
(Like a photo? Click it for a link to its recipe!)
I'm Erik, the Burnt Chef. I'm a Finnish-born Newfoundlander living in Norway. I have a passion for cooking and a deep fascination for the culinary history of the North. Simplicity guides my cooking. Time, place, and history guide my storytelling. This is my personal blog about food.