In my entry for Jennifer's event, I stated that I think Canadian cuisine (savoury or sweet) developed through adapting family and cultural dishes using a mixture of indigenous and introduced foods. For that post, I made spiced blueberry-maple syrup that combined indigenous ingredients (maple syrup and wild blueberries) along with introduced flavours (cinnamon and black pepper).
For my own event, I'm keeping within that theme and expanding it a teeny bit.
In May a good friend of mine left a box of wild bounty she collected from her properties for me. My, those were some lovely looking ramps.
My idea was quite simple: work with flavours that play well together to bring out their oniony-garlicky best. Essentially what I think of as the basic tenet of cooking (Canadian or otherwise)-- simple homey cooking that's unfettered by fashion that uses what's easily available in a tasty way that's not only soothing but also makes you glad you're home.
In researching the various rampy treats, I came across a a recipe for a savoury ramp strudel. With a few tweaks (aided by a bit of a stromboli fascination), I decided to make savoury, swirly buns, using bacon, cheese and mushrooms. It sounds like a lot of elements, but really, it isn't. Plus, it combines those ingredients in a way I think of as Canadian in substance and spirit:
- Pigs were brought over fairly early in our history,
- Quebec has a great cheesemaking tradition, and we do make our own versions of American and European cheese
- Mushrooms are both harvested wild and cultivated
- Prairie wheat was used to mill my flour
- Herbs and spices from Europe and Asia
Again, this is a recipe that really doesn't need one. Okay...the bun part does. If you don't have a recipe you like, I made mine based on Edna Staebler's Neil's Harbour White Bread (and I used one-third the recipe).
- streaky bacon, chopped into bits
- ramps (spring onions, green onions, globe onions or leeks will also do), green and white bits, chopped
- chopped mushrooms
- salt, pepper, thyme
- softened cream cheese (any soft or melty cheese will do)
- one beaten egg
- Parmesan cheese
Make the dough. During the first rise, fry the bacon until crisp and evacuate the bits to a bowl, leaving the fat in the pan. Fry the ramps and the mushrooms in the fat--add some oil if you need to. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Reintroduce the bacon to pan and give it all a good stir. Remove contents to a bowl and set aside.
After the dough has doubled, role it out to a 24x30 cm (8"x12") rectangle. Smear with cream cheese and spread the rampy-baconny-mushroomy topping over the cheese. Roll the sheet up, so you have a 30-ish cm log. Slice in 12 rolls and place in a baking tin. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Let rise until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 200C/400F and bake for 10-15 minutes or until done.
Check back on Canada Day (01 July 2008) to see Mmm...Canada: The Savoury Edition's round-up)