The Stampede backyard barbecue is a time-honoured tradition. Some have been hosting for decades, and their events have reached statutory holiday status. The highly-anticipated parties are competitive, to boot. Brunch parties almost always feature someone’s famous scotch eggs, fluffy pancakes and baked ham. Afternoon parties boast prime rib, Roast Baron of Beef, steaks or special burgers.
The pressure’s really on for side dishes that can compete. Devilled eggs, potato salad, coleslaw and corn on the cob are popular but rarely inspired.
A party invitation from a friend who is vegetarian got us thinking. The party isn’t meat free (it is Stampede for god’s sakes) but the usual mayonaissey side salads won’t do for veggie-savouring palates.
Pasta salad tossed with grilled Prairie vegetables seems appropriate. Barbecued corn, zucchini and mixed mushrooms are tossed with butter fried fresh sage and a zingy vinegrette. I like the idea of adding tumbleweed-like curly endive.
Chuckwagon wheel shaped pasta is also kind of hilarious.
STAMPEDE CHUCKWAGON PASTA SALAD WITH PRAIRIE SAGE DRESSING
With your barbecue on medium heat, layer olive oil rubbed shucked corn cobs, portobello mushrooms, and slices of zucchini on the grill.
When veggies are cool, cut corn from cob and slice veggies into bite size pieces.
For sage leaves: heat butter in sauce pan. When molten, add fresh sage leaves in a single layer. Turn them when they begin to crisp at the edges. Take off heat and add veggies and toss to coat.
Cook and drain pasta. When cool, add veggies and spring mix with curly endive. Toss with vinegrette.
butter fried fresh sage
PRAIRIE SAGE DRESSING
100 ml canola oil
50 ml while balsamic vinegar
10 ml Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
freshly ground pepper to taste
Here’s a mushroom salad from Laura Calder:
1 pound mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
Fleur de sel
A handful of chopped parsley
1.The night before eating, clean the mushrooms with a damp towel, peel, and discard the stems (or use to make stock). Zest one lemon and squeeze its juice. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Grill the mushroom caps 5 to 6 minutes. Turn them, hole down, and cook another minute. Put in a bowl.
2.Heat the oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest with the bay leaves, thyme and pepperoncini. Cook 5 minutes, pour over the mushrooms, and let cool in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.
3.To serve, grate over the zest of the remaining lemon, and the remaining garlic. Toss with into the salad with the parsley