A four-part summer feast

| July 2, 2018 | 0 Comments
Smoked Salmon Crispy Stacks with Avocado and Mango (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Smoked Salmon Crispy Stacks with Avocado and Mango (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Summer is a time for gathering with family and friends. Margaret Dickenson has put together some of her favourite recipes to help you entertain this summer, whether at a cottage or just at home al fresco.

Smoked Salmon Crispy Stacks with Avocado and Mango

Makes 4 servings

8 oz (225 g) smoked salmon, sliced

1 avocado, ripe

1 fresh mango (medium size), ripe

3 cups (750 mL) crisp young salad leaves

1/3 cup (80 mL) mustard-herb vinaigrette, recipe follows

Garnish (optional)

Several stems of fresh herbs (chervil, coriander, dill, for example) or shoots

¼ tsp (1 mL) lemon oil

1. Divide smoked salmon slices into 8 equal portions; set aside.

2. Cut avocado vertically in half and remove pit. Keeping entire half of avocado intact, carefully remove peel. Cut each avocado half vertically and then into oval slices (thickness: 1/3 inch or 0.8 cm). Choose 4 of the largest slices and set others aside for another purpose.

3. Peel mango. Similarly cut mango vertically into oval slices on either side of pit. Choose 4 attractive slices. Leaving top of slice attached, cut each of the 4 mango slices in a fan-like manner.

4. Use 4 dinner plates to make 4 individual servings. For each serving, place one portion of smoked salmon in a circular fashion (diameter: 4 inches or 10 cm) in centre of each plate.

5. To facilitate the creation of a stack, position a metal cylinder/ring (diameter: about 3¼ inches or 8.5 cm) over the salmon and fill with ¾ cup (190 mL) of salad leaves, packing the leaves gently. Leaving the cylinder in position, drizzle salad leaves with 2 tsp (10 mL) of vinaigrette; add another portion of smoked salmon. Carefully remove cylinder.

6. Gently top each stack with a slice of avocado and then a slice of mango. Drizzle stack and plate with more vinaigrette (about 2½ tsp or 13 mL).

7. If desired, garnish stacks with fresh herbs or shoots.

8. Cautiously and sparingly, add only 3 drops of lemon oil to the outer area of each plate beyond the stack.

9. Serve promptly.

Mustard Herb Vinaigrette

¾ cup (180 mL) canola or corn oil

¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil

¼ cup (60 mL) vinegar

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice

1 1/3 tbsp (20 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill weed

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh parsley

1½ tsp (8 mL) powdered mustard

1 ½ tsp (8 mL) finely chopped fresh


1½ tsp (8 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) crushed black peppercorns

1. Whisk ingredients together and stir well before using. The vinaigrette will keep up to several months if refrigerated in a sealed glass jar.

Extraordinary Sun-dried Tomato Shrimp (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Extraordinary Sun-dried Tomato Shrimp (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Extraordinary Sun-dried Tomato Shrimp

Makes 4 servings

20 colossal shrimp, deveined and peeled

8 oz (225 g) fettuccini/linguine of choice

To taste, salt

4 tbsp (60 mL) garlic butter or butter, divided

1 recipe Garlic Wine Butter Sauce*

To taste crushed black peppercorns

½ cup (125 mL) julienne cut sun-dried

tomatoes in seasoned oil (drained)

Heavy cream to thin sauce (optional)

1. Peel shrimp keeping tails intact; butterfly and set aside.

2. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and toss with 2 tbsp (30 mL) of garlic butter; set aside.

3. Prepare Garlic Wine Butter Sauce* to point of blending in heavy cream; remove from heat.

4. Just before serving, in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté shrimp in remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) of garlic butter. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until almost done. Transfer shrimp to another large skillet, leaving the little black bits from frying behind.

5. To finish the sauce, place small skillet with partially prepared sauce over medium-low heat and warm; whisk in butter a few cubes at a time. Remove from heat promptly; season with salt and pepper.

6. Add sun-dried tomatoes and Garlic Wine Butter Sauce to sautéed shrimp in large skillet; toss. Add extra heavy cream, as desired, to thin the sauce.

7. Serve 3 to 5 shrimp per serving over hot pasta. Bathe shrimp and pasta with remaining sauce.

* To make the Garlic Wine Butter Sauce, in a small skillet over low heat, combine 1/3 cup (80 mL) of chopped green onion, 2½ tbsp (38 mL) of both raspberry vinegar and dry white wine, 2/3 tsp (3.5 mL) of both grated fresh gingerroot (peeled) and finely chopped fresh garlic and 1/3 tsp (2 mL) of powdered mustard. Cook the mixture until only about 1 1/3 tbsp (20 mL) of the liquid remains. Blend in 2½ tbsp (38 mL) of heavy cream (35 per cent fat); set aside. Before serving, using almost 1/3 cup (80 mL) of room temperature unsalted butter (cut into cubes), whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is completely incorporated. Promptly remove the sauce from the heat, add salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste and combine with shrimp.

Margaret Dickenson's Mongolian Beef Strips (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Margaret Dickenson’s Mongolian Beef Strips (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Mongolian Beef Strips

Makes 4 servings

1 lb (450 g) striploin,* trimmed**

¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch

To taste, crushed black peppercorns

3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil


1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh garlic

2 tsp (10 mL) peeled and grated fresh gingerroot

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil

¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce

½ cup (125 mL) water

¾ cup (180 mL) brown sugar

1. Cut beef striploin crosswise into 1/3-inch (0.8 cm) thick slices. Place cornstarch in a plastic bag; add beef and toss to coat strips evenly. Transfer beef strips to a parchment-lined tray and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes to enable the cornstarch to adhere to the meat.

2. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a medium-size skillet, sauté garlic and ginger in 2 tsp (10 mL) of vegetable oil at medium-low heat for about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat to avoid splattering and add soy sauce, water and brown sugar. Return skillet to heat and stir constantly until sugar dissolves and sauce becomes thicker (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove skillet of sauce from heat.

3. Sprinkle beef strips lightly with crushed black peppercorns before adding to 3 tbsp (43 mL) hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear beef for about 1 minute per side so that meat is rare to medium-rare in doneness. (Avoid overcooking, which will toughen the meat.) Transfer beef to a platter.

4. When ready to serve, reheat sauce over medium-low heat before adding seared beef strips. Turning regularly, allow strips to just barely heat through; transfer strips immediately to serving plates/platter. Pass extra sauce at the table.

* For a more economical alterative, use flank steak cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Before searing, pound each individual cornstarch-coated strip very rigorously with a meat mallet to tenderize the beef. (Note: The strips will resemble thinly sliced bacon.)

** Frequently, there is a thick tough membrane on the side of the steak; remove it.

Deconstructed Pavlova with Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Deconstructed Pavlova with Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Deconstructed Pavlova with Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle

Makes 4 servings

1½ oz (45 g) baked meringues*

1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream (35 per cent fat), chilled

2½ tbsp (38 mL) icing sugar

½ tsp (3 mL) grated fresh lemon zest

¾ cup (180 mL) small pieces of peeled green kiwi

½ cup (125 mL) fresh blueberries

½ cup (125 mL) diced fresh peach, peeled with stone removed

1/3 cup (80 mL) walnut pieces

Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle

¼ cup (60 mL) Manuka honey

2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice

Garnish (optional)

16 fresh blueberries (in addition to above)

4 sprigs of fresh mint and kiwi slices

1. To make the Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle, place honey in a small bowl, add lemon juice and stir until thoroughly combined. (Makes more than a ¼ cup or about 70 mL.)

2. Break meringues into thumbnail-sized pieces and set aside.

3. In a chilled medium-sized bowl, whip cream until it begins to thicken. Add icing sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Add lemon zest and continue beating until stiff peaks form. 

4. Drizzle blueberries with only 1 tsp (5 mL) of Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle; turn, gently coating the blueberries evenly with the honey.

5. Just before serving, combine the kiwi, blueberries and peach in one bowl.

6. Gently fold meringue and walnut pieces into the whipped cream, and then fold in the fruit.

7. For 4 individual servings, place a cylinder (diameter: about 3 inches or 7.5 cm) in the centre of a dinner plate or bistro bowl. Gently spoon in one quarter of the delicate fruit and meringue cream. Remove the cylinder. Crown with a half slice of kiwi. 

8. Artistically drizzle each plate with about 2 tsp (10 mL) of Lemon Manuka Honey Drizzle. Garnish with a few blueberries and a sprig of fresh mint. 

9. Serve promptly while meringue is still crisp.

* This is about 3 commercial meringue shells. They are available in grocery stores and bakeries. 

Margaret Dickenson is a cookbook author, TV host, menu/recipe developer and a protocol, business and etiquette instructor. (www.margaretstable.ca)

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Category: Delights

About the Author ()

Margaret Dickenson wrote the awardwinning cookbook, Margaret’s Table — Easy Cooking & Inspiring Entertaining (www.margaretstable.ca).

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