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Mark Picone’s recipes

Tyler Anderson / National Post

This summer risotto is an ideal way to get those fresh peaches into a main course

In the middle of a work week, when it is hot and steamy in the city, it’s a dream to think of spending the day in Niagara having lunch with Mark Picone, one of Canada’s top chefs. Picone, former chef at Vineland Estates Winery, now has his own culinary studio in Vineland, where people can book private meals or classes for eight to 12 guests. Our lunch, sponsored by Ontario Tender Fruit Producers, included nectarines, peaches and plums, but Mark promotes local food every chance he gets.

After lunch I visited The Moyers’ Cherry Avenue Farms “Pick-Your-Own” and picked (and ate) apricots in the middle of the orchard. If you can’t make it to Vineland, they have three stands on Saturdays at St. Lawrence Market (north side) in Toronto and also sell the red fife wheat pasta they make from the wheat they grow near their peach trees.


Add grilled steak or chicken for a main course salad.


– 3 tbsp (45 mL) Niagara Ice Wine vinegar

– 1 tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup

– 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt or more to taste

– 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) hot red pepper sauce

– 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil

– 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh mint

– 2 tbsp (25 mL) sniped chives


– 12 cups (3 L) mixed greens

– 3 nectarines, cut into wedges

– 1⁄2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1. For dressing whisk vinegar with maple syrup, salt, hot pepper sauce and olive oil. Add mint and chives. Season to taste.

2. Place lettuce in a salad bowl and top with nectarines and onions. Toss with just enough dressing to coat the greens. Makes 6 to 8 servings


To peel peaches you can use a soft skin peeler or drop them into boiling water for 30 seconds, refresh under cold water and pull skins off with a knife. (Often I don’t peel them at all.) Mark served this with sautéed scallops. more…