Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Treadwell: The Finest Farm-to-Table Cuisine in Niagara

Stephen Treadwell is one of Ontario’s food stars. Formerly the head chef at Queen's Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Auberge du Pommier in Toronto, Treadwell brought the European concept of 'farm-to-table' dining to Southern Ontario almost a decade ago, sourcing regional suppliers such as Cumbrae Farms and Best Baa Dairy within an easy transportation distance to the restaurant. The father and son team are vocal and passionate about emphasizing the best artisan producers of Southwestern Ontario, and their restaurant is a showcase of local farmers, producers and vintners. It's simple, perfect food, and allows the ingredients to speak for themselves. Whether it’s 'Mario Pingue’s' 24 Month Aged Prosciutto with shaved Ontario Pecorino and some peppery field-grown Arugula, 'Marc's Wild Mushrooms, Bertha's Bounty Eggs or 'Cumbrae Farms' Confit Shoulder of Lamb with ratatouille of local Niagara summer vegetables and feta vinaigrette, the food has provenance, is perfectly prepared, beautifully presented, and absolutely delicious. Combined with Sommelier James Treadwell's spot on wine recommendations and a staff that is friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine is undoubtedly the finest place to dine in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but with the Shaw Festival venues a short walk away, reservations during the theatre months are essential.

Treadwell's wine and dinner menu

'Riddled' Sparkling Wine from Flat Rock Cellers in Twenty Mile Bench

The delicate balance sweetness and crisp acidity makes this sparkling wine devilishly 'more-ish'

Housemade Rosemary Focaccia with olive oil and blueberry balsamic 

Bench Trial Cabernet Franc from Twenty Mile Bench

The sommelier pouring the Bench Trial Cabernet Franc, 
having already poured the 2014 Domaine Clavel Rosé

Seared BC Albacore Tuna Tartare with Kohlrabi Slaw, Wasabi Mayonnaise and Crispy Nori

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Lime Fromage Sorbet and Togarashi Straw

Heirloom Tomato Salad with 'Epp Farms' Peaches, customized without focaccia croutons and Monforte Pecorino Fresca with oil and vinegar for a carb free and lactose free appetizer

Pingue’s Aged 24 Month Prosciutto with Monforte Toscano Preserved Lemon with Niagara Balsamic Reduction

Wild BC Sockeye Salmon with Curried Squash Purée, Grilled Zucchini and Pattypan Squash with Poached Free Range Egg

Duck Confit with Potato Rösti and Duck Croquette with Tarragon Wine Jus and Summer Vegetables

Pan Seared Filet of Lake Huron Pickerel with Sautéed 'Marc's' Wild Mushrooms and Summer Squash

Confit Shoulder of “Cumbrae Farms” Lamb with Ratatouille of Local Summer vegetables and Feta Vinaigrette

Pan-Seared Whitefish with Sweet Pea and Corn Risotto
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Stephen Treadwell

6 whitefish, perch or snapper filets
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground white peppercorns, to taste

Corn Stock:
4 smoked husks of corn 
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped leek, green outer leaves removed
4 lime leaves
5 white peppercorns
1 serrano pepper

Sweet Pea and Corn Risotto:
2 ears corn
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups Arborio risotto rice 
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups corn stock
1 cup sweet peas, blanched
2 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp chives, chopped
1 tbsp preserved lemon, chopped
Watercress and pea shoots, to dress
Toscano cheese, or similar, to taste

Cover all of the corn stock ingredients with water. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat. Remove lime leaves and serrano pepper. Cover and leave to cool for 24 hours before straining.

Grill corn ears to colour on barbecue, then cut the niblets from the cob and reserve.

Sweat the shallot in olive oil over medium-high heat for a few seconds. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the rice and salt and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Start adding hot corn stock a little bit at a time, adding more as it evaporates, and continue until the rice becomes al dente.

Add the grilled corn kernels, sweet peas, and one tablespoon of the diced butter; continue cooking, adding more stock as needed. Finish by adding the remaining butter, parsley, chives, and chopped preserved lemon. Garnish with watercress, pea shoots, and shaved Toscano cheese.

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil to pan and immediately add fish skin-side down to cook for no more than 2 minutes. Turn and finish for another minute. Remove and plate fish atop risotto.

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