The Main Menu: Celebrate summer with these recipes

Our food columnist Jan Main has some tasty recipes to help you celebrate and enjoy the summer season to the fullest.


Celebrate summer with a variety of lively flavours and colours of just picked asparagus and strawberries.

As the season progresses, feel free to substitute the best fruit and vegetables of your preferences: beans, zucchini, baby carrots, tomatoes, peaches, plums and pears….

Tips: Before cooking asparagus, break off the tough stems and save for soup stock if you wish. Cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes and serve immediately!

Both fish and asparagus require little cooking; watch the cooking times.

Remember when slicing strawberries, they have an attractive heart shape if cut from the curved top to the point. Make the most of this heart shaped appearance to add to the salad or dessert.

Enjoy every mouthful of tantalizing summer!

Summer Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette

Lemon Honey Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 -3 tbsp (45 ml) liquid honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

In a food processor combine garlic and salt until garlic is finely chopped. Add pepper, oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard and puree until smooth and well blended. Pour into a jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Salad Mixture

8 cups (2 L) seasonal greens
1 lb (500 g) fresh asparagus, or as season progresses, beans or zucchini
1 red pepper, finely sliced
1 cup (250 mL) fresh thinly sliced strawberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced fennel or celery
Snap off tough ends of asparagus and cook stalks in boiling water 2 minutes. Drain and cool ready to add to the salad.
In a large serving platter or bowl, toss spring greens, asparagus, peppers, strawberries, almonds and fennel together.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve – may be assembled the night before. Just before serving, toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat leaves about 1/2 cup (125 mL). Serves 6 to 8.

Rainbow Trout en Papillote

Although this is a simple recipe, it’s my favourite way of cooking fish equally good with salmon or Arctic Char.

The term “en papillote” simply means, in paper, specifically parchment paper. The paper makes a disposable container for the fish( helps with clean-up) and keeps the fish moist during cooking too.

This easy to cook recipe can be assembled and refrigerated several hours before popping into a 425 F (220 C) oven.

When I want quality fish, I go to Seaport, 1101 Victoria Park Ave. just south of St. Clair. Give Marilyn or Lorne a call at 416-755-9960 to order your fish and have it ready when you go to pick it up.

4 trout fillets
1/4 cup ( 75 mL) olive oil
2 tsp ( 10 mL) grated lemon rind
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Sprigs of tarragon or dill

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Line a baking dish with parchment paper allowing enough paper to encase fish fully.

Arrange fish in a single layer In baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon rind and drizzle all over with lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and arrange dill or tarragon on top.

Fold parchment paper over fish to encase in a neat package. Refrigerate until ready to bake. May be assembled several hours in advance.

Bake 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily and is opaque. Serve fish immediately with tarragon aioli.

Tarragon Aioli

Not only is tarragon aioli a perfect complement to fish, it is a tasty dipping sauce for asparagus or other blanched vegetables and crudites of all sorts.

3/4 cup (175 mL) light mayonnaise
1 clove, crushed garlic
1 juice and rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped, fresh tarragon
1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil

In a measuring cup, stir together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon rind , juice and fresh tarragon. Combine well. Stir in olive oil.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with fish. Keep several days. Makes 1 cup (250 mL).

Lemon Curd for Mousse, Ice-cream and Fillings

One of my favourites! This is one of the simplest, most important recipes to have in your repertoire. It is a must for lemon mousse, ice-cream, tart and cake fillings. It is so delicious, you can stand at the kitchen counter and eat it by the spoonful!

And, lemon mousse or ice-cream is the ideal companion to fresh Ontario strawberries!

2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice or lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon rind or lime rind

In a stainless- steel saucepan over medium high heat, whisk together eggs sugar and fresh lemon juice until well combined. Whisk in lemon rind and continue whisking vigorously until it starts to bubble and is thickened.

Immediately remove from heat; scrape into a stainless- steel bowl and cool it quickly over a bowl of ice. Curd thickens as it cools.

Mousse, Ice Cream or Fillings

You can now whip a cup (1 cup/250 mL) whipping cream in a deep bowl such as a plastic yogurt container with an electric mixer until cream is stiff (whipped cream stands in stiff peaks).

Fold whipped cream into cooled lemon or lime curd, then spoon into small pretty bowls for a quick mousse or freeze for an ice cream. The mousse may also be used as a “dipping sauce” for the strawberries or other fresh fruit.

Finally, this lemon mousse makes a delicious filling for tortes or tarts garnished with fresh strawberries. Yum!!!!

Was this article informative? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!


I have saved your carrot cake recipe for years (1980’s) and now cannot find it. I am trying to make it for my son’s 40th birthday this Sunday. He said that is the cake that made him like carrot cake.
I cannot find it on this site even with a search.
Wondering if it possible for you to send it to me.
Thank you in advance.

Click here for our commenting guidelines.

Leave a Reply