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The Walleye
The season of the grill is upon us
and there is no better way to beat
the summer heat than to throw one
down on the barbie while catching
some rays on the back patio with a
cool drink at hand. But before you
sally forth to the nearest grocery
store for a box of frozen burgers or
package of hot dogs (what a mis-
nomer!) might I recommend a trip
down to our local market where
farm fresh produce
abounds and a deli-
cious departure from
USA grade awaits your
As a recent returnee
to Thunder Bay after a
decade in the suburban
sprawl of the Southern
Ontario nether re-
gions, one of my first
forays was to the Country Market
for food found locally. Located in
the CLE Dove Building and open
Wednesday 3:30pm-7:00pm and
Saturday 8:00am-1:00pm, I was
immediately taken by the remark-
able community and vast array of
produce that awaited me there.
Every veg under the (northern) sun
you could imagine, fresh gouda
of every flavour, ethnic delights of
all assortment, fresh brewed cof-
fee and the most fantastic variety
of sconces, muffins, tarts, cakes,
pies, squares and cookies you could
dream of ­ with an inward sigh of
relief I realized it really was good to
be home!
However, my raison d'ętre that
day at the market was to suss out
some new and inspiring grill wor-
thy dishes to curb my carnivorous
cravings and I certainly wasn't dis-
appointed. Stopping by the Rainy
River Elk Co., I was entranced by
their plethora of elk produce rang-
ing from steaks, roasts, grilling
sausages, burgers, jerky, summer
sausage and smoked elk sticks.
Since 1995, Bill Darby, Deb
Cornell and their daughters Laura
and Shannon have been operat-
ing their farm which encompasses
120 head of elk grazing on sum-
mer grass pastures and winter hay
bales in their enclosed paddock.
Their game is raised free of growth
promoters and antibiotics and pro-
duces elk that is naturally low fat,
flavourful and low in cholesterol.
Deb suggested this recipe for Elk
Satay on the barbeque (serves 12 as
an app):
750 g (1 ˝ lb) Elk sirloin steak
150 ml (3/4 c) Soy sauce
125 ml (1/2 c) Packed brown sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) Cooking oil
1 ml (1/4 tsp) Garlic powder or 1
clove minced
2 ml (1/2 tsp) Ginger powder
Wooden skewers soaked in water
to prevent scorching. Slice steak
into ˝ cm (1/8 inch) thick strips
to make long, thin slices. If meat is
partially frozen, it is easier to slice.
In a bowl with a tight fitting cover,
mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic and
ginger. Add meat to bowl. Cover
meat with marinade. Allow to mar-
inate for at least ˝ hour. Remove
meat from marinade and thread on
skewers in accordion fashion. Grill
only until medium rare.
I recommend pairing this sa-
voury grilled snack with a cold,
frothy ale such as England's Abbot
Ale or a full bodied and fruity
Zinfandel such as California's
Ravenswood Vintners Blend.
Across the aisle is Northern
Unique, whose heavenly scent of
fresh baked bread drew me in by
the end of my nose. Besides pro-
ducing beautiful breads, baking,
soups and prepared foods, they
also specialize in bison and boar
produce. Dealing directly with
the Dawson Buffalo Ranch in
Rainy River, who farm 250 head of
bison on their 500 acres property,
Northern Unique espouses the
high protein, low fat and omega
fatty acid rich qualities of their
farmed bison. Try bison burgers
on the grill with a spicy Syrah
blend made organically such as
Perrin Nature Cote du Rhone or
a rich and robust porter made in
Ontario such as Mill Street Coffee
Porter. In addition to bison,
Northern Unique raises 76 head
of wild boar on their 7 acre farm
out onHighway 61. Fed a natural
diet of hay, malt, oats, alfalfa and
corn, the boars are free ranged in
large rotational pens and happily
have open access to fresh water,
rooting ground, sunshine and as
much mud as their little hearts' de-
sire. Producing a red meat unlike
conventional grocer pork, the wild
boar is high in iron, very flavourful
and a great source of protein. Try
boar sausage on the barbeque with
any ole Kentucky Bourbon cocktail
or indulge in a frosty mug of heady
Bock beer.
Finally, I swung by the Fish
Shop, opened in 2004 by Liisa
Karkkainen, who sources her
freshwater fish from local licensed
fishermen and who utilizes time
honoured traditional Finnish tech-
niques to produce her smoked fish
products. Low in saturated fat,
high in protein and a good source
of vitamins and nutrients, sus-
tainably sourced freshwater fish,
such as our eponymous Walleye is
the perfect protein for the sum-
mer grill. Try this simply savoury
Walleye recipe with a crisp and
fresh Riesling from Germany such
as Armand's or throw back a bottle
(or two!) of a delicious and ice cold
Pilsner such as Steam Whistle:
Chopped red onion
Garlic powder
Ground pepper
Salt to taste
Fresh lemons
Butter (the real stuff!)
Make a foil boat and place the
walleye in it. Season to taste with
spices. Slice the lemons and put
them on the fillets. Add a pat of
butter to each fillet. Garnish with
red onions. Grill on medium for
8-10 minutes. Turn the fillets and
cook for another 5 minutes. Done
when fish flakes. Serve with lemon
picks the best
bevvies to have
with inspiring
grill worthy
dishes like
Elk Satay, Bison Burgers and
Freshwater Walleye
Girl Meets
By JeanAnne Dubois, Certified Sommelier
Photos by Joanne Abraham