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RECIPE: Summer porch menu featuring halibut and squid

A summer feast featuring seafood and seasonal produce.
A summer feast featuring seafood and seasonal produce.

Who needs the Mediterranean when we’ve got the Okanagan? Summer life in this beautiful valley gives British Columbians serious rights on the ultimate lifestyle that includes sunshine, the lake, local food and wine. 

As we sip and savour outdoors during these beautiful warm evenings, why not try some different dishes at home like squid?  Relatively inexpensive, this little sea body is so much more than deep fried calamari.  Pan seared with spices, it is tender and flavourful and the perfect starter or side main to our in season local halibut. 

One of my favourite ways to cook halibut is super easy and done in the oven on high heat. Rinse and pat dry your halibut pieces (make sure they are close to the same size to ensure even cooking). Preheat oven to 425 degrees and drizzle the halibet with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Spread each top with mayonnaise and then top with panko that has been tossed with lemon zest and chili flakes. Drizzle with another bit of extra virgin olive oil and then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the fish is just opaque in the middle. Be diligent and watch for readiness – overcooked halibut is so disappointing.

Lazy summer nights call for light and fresh seasonally inspired dishes.
Lazy summer nights call for light and fresh seasonally inspired dishes.
Image Credit: Jay Lirag

Tomato season has also begun so the classic Caprese salad has debuted and will probably make our dinner table nightly. Sliced tomatoes topped with local buffalo mozzarella (from Natural Pastures on Vancouver Island) or bocconcini (from Tanto Latte made from 100 per cent Canadian whole milk from the Okanagan Valley) then drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and topped with fresh basil is the ultimate scent and taste of summer. Day’s corn (on Byrns Road) also becomes a go-to almost nightly side dish while the season provides.

Seared Squid Okanagan Style
Serves a happy two

  • 6 bodies of squid, thawed, rinsed, cleaned and butterflied
  • ¼ tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • sprinkle chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • lemon wedges

With a sharp knife, lightly score the squid on the inside of the body in tracks that run almost edge to edge diagonally. Toss the squid with herbs and two tablespoons of the olive oil. Heat cast iron pan or heavy bottomed fry pan on medium high heat. Add the other two tablespoons of olive oil and when it begins to smoke, add squid and sear for approximately one minute per side or until opaque. Remove from heat and serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon.


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