Last Wednesday, I was invited to Berrylicious. Farm Fresh., one of eight FARM TO FOOD canola oil inspired culinary workshop series presented by Canola Eat Well, a joint partnership between Alberta Canola and Manitoba Canola Growers. The interactive event, hosted by Joey Salmingo and led by chef Cory Vitiello of The Harbord Room and Flock Restaurants, provided guests with an opportunity to connect to the farm, learn more about canola oil, and get inspired in the kitchen. This #CanolaConnect culinary workshop took place at the Bosch Luxe Studio on 334 King St. E., a beautiful, posh kitchen featuring professional Bosch appliances.
Chef Vitiello (right) uses canola oil everyday in his roast chickens and salads at Flock, as well as in his famous burger served at The Harbord Room (click here for recipe). Chef Vitiello taught us two recipes that evening: romesco sauce and hush puppies.
Romesco is an almond and red pepper-based sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. Ingredients include tomatoes, roasted red peppers, shallots, onion, espelette pepper, almonds, garlic, paprika, sherry vinegar, salt and canola oil. Placed in groups of two, we were encouraged to make the sauce without a recipe, so we all just went with it. We used our instincts, experimented with the flavours along the way, and hoped for the best. After chopping up all the ingredients, we placed everything into a pot to simmer away. I was happy to learn that there is apparently no right or wrong romesco sauce because many variations of the sauce exist out there. Whew!
A friendly competition among us naturally occurred since the winner of the best romesco sauce wins a dinner for two at The Harbord Room! Despite learning that there are many variations of romesco, I also learned that an excellent romesco sauce is one that balances the following three flavour components the best: smokiness (paprika), heat (peppers), and acid (sherry vinegar).