Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Treadwell: Superb 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 more than 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 locally grown and organic 'Harvest 365' Heirloom Tomatoes with 'Monforte' water buffalo fresco focaccia croutons, 'Marc's' Wild Mushrooms, 'Pingue’s' 24 month aged prosciutto or 'Cumbrae Farms' Pork Tenderloin with pork belly, crispy pancetta, creamy polenta, pink peppercorns and charred radicchio, the food has provenance, is perfectly prepared, beautifully presented, and absolutely delicious. “When you have control over the creative aspects of a restaurant, you have control over the source of your ingredients,” said Treadwell. “Even cooking in this region for as long as I have, I have been wonderfully surprised by all the incredible ingredients we have found for the menu.” 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 are essential.

The outdoor patio is lovely on a warm summer evening

Treadwell's dinner menu features farm-to-table cuisine

Our wine server pouring a glass of Megalomaniac Bubblehead Sparkling Rosé

it a hint of sweetness, this sparkling Niagara bubbly is made in the traditional method of Champagne, and has a cranberry, raspberry nose and palate from the Pinot Noir base

Ravine Vineyard Sparkling Brut is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Lime Fromage Sorbet and Puff Pastry Cheese Straw

Enjoying a glass of Leaning Post Rosé with dinner

Cumbrae Farms Pork Tenderloin served with Pork Belly, Crispy Pancetta, Creamy Polenta, 
Pink Peppercorns and Charred Radicchio

Indian Spice Dusted West Coast Halibut served Curry Roasted Peanuts, Summer Vegetables 
and Cilantro Lime Yogurt

Heirloom Tomato Tarts
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Chef Stephen Treadwell

7 oz Monforte Belle sheep’s milk cheese or chèvre
1 1/2 lb lbs selection of heirloom tomatoes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp 15-year-old balsamic, or similar

Tart Dough:

3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp orange zest
1 cup flour
3/4 cup ground almonds
2/3 cup toasted panko crumbs 

Basil Purée:

1 cup basil leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 ice cubes

For the basil purée, add all the ingredients together in a mini food processor and purée until smooth, and set aside. The ice cubes will prevent the basil from turning grey in the process.

For the dough, mix the butter and sugar together. Add the orange zest, flour, ground almonds, and panko crumbs to form a dough. Mix, being careful not to overmix. Roll the tart dough into six 4-inch balls. Work the dough with your fingers to create shells approximately 1/8-inch thick and press into individual tart shells. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover the tarts with baking paper and beans and cook “blind” approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Let the shells cool.

Mix the basil purée with one tablespoon of the Belle cheese to create a spreadable mix, then lightly coat the base of each shell with a little of the basil mixture. In a large bowl, season the tomatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. To intensify flavours and vary textures, blister some of the smaller tomatoes in a hot pan using a little extra-virgin olive oil, and then season with fleur de sel and black pepper.

Arrange the blistered and raw tomatoes inside each of the tart shells. Garnish with a “quenelle” of the Belle cheese — to form a quenelle, shape the cheese between two teaspoons to create an almond-shaped lozenge. Place in the centre of the plate, and spoon extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic around the tart. Finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel as desired.