Anita Stewart's "World's Longest Barbecue" interests me--not because it attempts to create a truly national feast, but because it essentially celebrates locavorism in a country made up of immigrants. There is a bit of a dichotomy there...
Sure, we have "quintessentially Canadian foods," such as butter tarts and doughnuts, but most of what's eaten goes beyond this.
Indigenous foods such as maple syrup, bison, blueberries and squash now sit along side various crops and herds brought over by waves of immigrants. Most of the meats we eat: chicken, pork and beef, along with carrots, apples, spinach, peaches and other fruits and vegetables, along with grains and cereals we eat on a daily basis were brought over by people who wished for a taste of home.
My concept of celebrating Canadian eating focusses on the breadth of dishes this country offers as a result of the creative and homesick cooks, combining a breadth of indigenous and new ingredients. It's also about what food helps us do: celebrate, commiserate, share and learn.
It's not in opposition to the "eat local" shadow cast by the event, as it's possible to adapt some home cooking to near-ish crops and herds, but I'd rather explore what I can do with a local base food and see what I can do to bring in part of the rest of Canada.
There are many ways to flavour a pork loin, but an Argentine-insprired chimichurri is my offerng. I use this vibrant green coriander leaf mixture as both a sauce and a marinade; I've also mixed with butter, cream cheese or mayonnaise for a sandwich spread. It's incredibly garlicky and a bit tangy and easily adaptable to your individual palate--apart from playing with the garlic and spicing, you can play with the parsley-coriander ratio, keeping to one cup of green.
For the loin, put some of the sauce and put it a zippy bag and let the pork marinate in it over night. After cooking, place the cooked meat in a tin foil pocket with a couple of spoons of chimichurri (not the marinating liquid, but some from the quantity made), seal the ends and let the meat sit for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
Oh, and the weird shape to the loin? No, local pork producers do not raise pigs to have their various bits shaped to look like flowers when cut. I don't have a barbecue, but I do have one of those table-top grills. Makes for very pretty slices.
4 cloves garlic
1/2small onion, roughly chopped
1/2c flat leaf parsley
1/2c coriander leaf
50-60ml red wine vinegar
100-125ml olive oil
1tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1tsp black pepper (or to taste)
juice from half a lime
In a blender, add the garlic and onion and chop finely. Puree in the the herbs in by handfuls, alternating with oil and vinegar. When all the leaves, oil and vinegar are combined, blend in cayenne, pepper and salt. Adjust seasoning to taste. Before using, add lime juice.
What I'm reading: Home Land by Sam Lipsyte
I'm a quill for hire!