Ever been to the Pacific Northwest? If not, you are undoubtedly missing out on the goodies there is to offer! The city of Vancouver in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada is blessed by the lovely Pacific Ocean to the West and shielded by the Rocky Mountains of the East. We have a climate that is not too hot in the Summer, not too cold in the Winter, just right in the Spring and the Autumn for the exquisite flowers and fauna to bloom and fall. If you don’t mind a bit of rainfall from February to April, then Vancouver is perfect for you!
Although Vancouver is seen as a winter wonderland, who recently hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, for me Summer is the best where there are countless activities to do and all sorts of things to see.
You can find all of the amazing foods that the Pacific Northwest has to offer in Vancouver’s markets and restaurants, but there’s no experience like the one you get at my favorite place to shop for farm fresh produce, The Granville Island Public Market. Here, the produce is always a spectacle and the impeccable cheeses, meats and seafood you can find here just blows your mind. There’s also the remarkable variety of olives and handmade pasta! I’m in food heaven every time here and I haven’t even started on the breads, sweets and flowers yet.
This Holiday Season, I have rediscovered the beauty of our native seafood, not only with those amazing Dungeness Crabs, but specifically the plump and juicy mussels from Salt Spring Island that are the jewels of the ocean. I honestly can tell you that I’ve not had any mussels that are as good as these anywhere I’ve travelled to and I’ve been to and cooked in a lot of places. The Georgia Strait around Salt Spring Island must have a little magic in their water!
Recipe: Peppery Mussels in a White Wine Sauce
Mussels 2 lbs
Grapeseed Oil 1 Tbsp
Shallots, diced 3/4 cup
Celery, diced 3/4 cup
Ginger, sliced 2 large
White wine 3/4 cup
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Salt and Pepper to taste
Lemon, seeded 1/2 of one
Celery leaves 1/2 cup garnish
1) When you get home from the market, soak the mussels in cold tap water to allow them to spit out all the sand and weed they are clinging onto for about an hour. Then clean the outsides with a paring knife scratching away the extra debris sticking on the shells. Change the water at least once in the process of soaking. Drain before cooking.
2) Place a large saucepan over med-high heat and sauté the shallots and ginger until the shallots become translucent.
3) Add the celery into the pan and allow it to cook for 3 minutes.
4) Pour in the mussels and about 2 pinches of salt and pepper.
6) Cover the pan with a lid and wait for 5 minutes.
7) Open the lid and sprinkle the cayenne pepper over the mussels and give it a good stir.
8) Once all the mussels have opened their shells, you can pour them out into a serving bowl clearing the pan. Make sure you scoop some of the lovely vegetables on top to reveal what ingredients are inside. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mussels.
9) Garnish with the celery leaves and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
10) Et voila, ready to eat with some toasted garlic butter French bread!