The Main Menu: Picnic recipes for late summer and early fall

Late summer and early fall is the perfect time for a picnic, and Jan Main has some great recipes to help you plan yours.


Ah picnics! A vision of lounging on grass beneath spreading branches with an enticing basket of food comes to mind. A picnic can be as simple as a peanut butter sandwich or fresh baguette with cheese, pate and pickles (and of course, a bottle of wine).

The food can be your heart’s desire depending on the time you want to take in preparation and the preferences of the people involved. Usually, picnics are part of a holiday. Therefore, the food needs to be special, favourites of the participants.

You may want to sample these picnic recipes?

The Big Sandwich

This sandwich is the inspiration of Rose-Mary Lamanna. It is a mouth- watering meal-in-itself, designed to satisfy the biggest appetite. Simply cut in half for a smaller serving.

The rectangular panino roll from Scarborough’s Montmartre Bakery is perfect for this hearty sandwich – crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside. It is also sturdy enough to hold the tasty fillings. (I have been using this family-run bakery happily for years and enjoy a number of their breads and pastries. It is located at 105 Midwest Rd., Lawrence and Midland area. To place orders by telephone, please call them at 416-757-7771.)

2 panini buns sliced horizontally almost in half like a book
2 tbsp (25 mL) pesto, commercial or homemade
2 tbsp (25 mL) sliced sun-dried tomatoes with additional oil
4 tbsp (50 mL) marinated artichokes
4 slices provolone cheese
4 slices prosciutto or smoked chicken
2 handfuls arugula or washed and dried mixed salad greens

For each of the 2 sandwiches, spread a tablespoon of pesto on the half side of the bun, on the other half spread generously with the sun-dried tomatoes and some of the oil.

Place the 2 slices of cheese on the pesto side and the 2 slices of prosciutto or chicken on the tomato side.

Top each filling with a spoonful of the marinated artichokes then fill the center with arugula and close the sandwich carefully together keeping all the fillings inside. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and overwrap in foil. Refrigerate. Repeat for other sandwiches.

Sandwiches may be made the night before or an hour before packing the picnic basket. Pack a bread knife to slice the sandwich in half if desired.

Makes 2 generous servings or 4 smaller ones.

Scotch Eggs

Accompany this portable main course with your favourite mustard (Dijon), buttered crusty bread and a salad or veggies.

6 large eggs, hard cooked (instructions for cooking follow)
1 lb sausages, mild Italian, honey garlic or breakfast
1 slice bread made into fresh breadcrumbs

To hard cook eggs: Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water to cover at least 1 inch (2.5 mL) over eggs. Bring eggs to boil; reduce heat to simmer and simmer 10 minutes. Immediately drain and cover with cold water. Peel and pat dry with paper towel.

Place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Squeeze sausage meat from casings and divide meat in 6 equal portions.

Pat sausage portion into a flat patty and shape evenly around the egg sealing the edges.

Dip eggs into the bowl of breadcrumbs and roll to coat with crumbs. Repeat with remaining eggs to have 6 eggs covered in sausage meat then breadcrumbs.

Arrange on a pie plate and bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool. Pack in a sealed plastic container and refrigerate or pack with an ice-pack to carry to the picnic.

To serve, using a sharp knife, slice in half lengthwise and serve with mustard of your choice. Makes 6 whole servings.

Fruited Financiers

My friend made these delectable mouthfuls, an ideal finish to a special picnic.

4 eggs, separated (reserve yolks for other use)
1/4 tsp ( mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, melted
1/2 cup (125 mL) almond flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
Sliced strawberries or halved raspberries
Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 400 (200 C). Spray 20 mini-muffin tins with baking spray.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. (Yolks may be used in scrambled eggs.) Using a heat proof bowl, melt butter. Cool.

In separate bowl, stir together almond flour, sugar and all-purpose flour. Stir in cooled butter; fold in beaten egg whites.

Spoon equal quantities into about 20 mini muffin pans. Arrange a slice of fruit centered on top of each.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until a pale golden brown and firm to the touch.

Cool before serving. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Makes about 20.

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