Now that Calgary’s many farmers’ markets are (finally) brimming with freshly picked fruits and vegetables, there is no excuse not to have some friends over for a backyard dinner. With Food Day Canada –an annual day of celebrating all edible things local– being just around the corner, we asked Oxbow’s executive chef, Sean Cutler, to come with up delicious recipes that pay homage to the amazing ingredients we are lucky to have at our fingertips.

Drawing inspiration from within Alberta and our neighbouring provinces, here is chef Cutler’s dinner menu that pairs perfectly with a warm, lightly breezy midsummer’s night.

Heirloom Tomato and Beluga Lentil Salad

Sean Cutler chef Oxbow

As summer peaks, there are few things as rewarding as biting into a perfectly ripe, sweet heirloom tomato. This salad sees farmers’ market fresh heirlooms plated up with tender butter leaf lettuce, hearty lentils and pungent blue cheese then finished with a beautiful camelina oil-based vinaigrette.  Get the recipe here.

Alberta Trout Rillettes on Sourdough

Sean Cutler salmon rilletes

Every dinner party needs a delicious appetizer to kick things off, right? Right! This clever combination of tender Alberta trout combined with shallots, BC-grown sumac and more spread onto toasted pieces of sourdough will impress your friends straight out of the gates. Get the recipe here.

Bison Flank Steak with Farro and Red Wine and Blueberry Compote

Sean Cutler oxbow chef

Beautifully lean, bison usually just needs a quick grill before it’s ready to serve to your guests. Chef Cutler serves up this big bison flank steak with farro, a hearty grain, wilted chard, grilled stone fruit and a red wine berry compote to bring it all together. Both the farro and compote can be made well ahead of time, which helps to minimize your time in the kitchen while you’re entertaining. Get the full recipe here.

Warm BC Berries with Maple Shortbread Crumble

Sean Cutler chef Oxbow

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying fresh summer berries on ice cream, but it is a little predictable. Give some sweet berries a quick stew on the stove and serve them up with buttery shortbread and a mint semifreddo for a dessert that will leave everyone speechless. Semifreddo might sound fancy, but just think of it as an easy homemade ice cream without needing an ice cream maker. Get the recipe for the berries and shortbread here and for Cutler’s mint semifreddo here.

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