More Recipes from Vancouver Island

Exclusive recipes from three Vancouver chefs

Exclusive recipes from three Vancouver chefs

Read about the accompanying article to these recipes: Murray Whyte on Vancouver Island’s slow food rebirth.

Stinging Nettle Tea
By Mara Jernigan


2 Cups of young stinging nettle leaves and shoots
4 Cups of water
2 Tbsp fireweed honey


Bring the water to a boil in a pot and drop in the nettles. Remove from heat, steep for 10 minutes and strain. Stir in honey.


The nettle gives a powerful sting when touched, but it disappears when they are cooked. Use gloves when harvesting and handling, and make sure the nettles are harvested from a clean environment.

Sooke Harbour House spring salad, with tulip petal salad dressing
By Edward Tuson and Sinclair Philip


Approximately 3 1/2 cups

It is important, if you have any options, to taste different tulip petals and choose the ones that taste the best. Emperor Tulips, for instance, usually have very good flavour. Bulbs are toxic, may cause brain damage and should never be eaten. Please read the warning on edible flowers.

Ingredients for Dressing:

1 cup Tulip Petals
1 cup British Columbia Pear Cider (or Apple Cider)
1/3 cup British Columbia Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2 Cups organic safflower oil (Use organic, cold pressed oils, if possible)

Wash and dry enough local, organic, or wild salad greens for your party.


Place all ingredients, except for the safflower oil, into a blender. Blend at low speed until a smooth texture is obtained.

Turn the blender to high speed and slowly pour the oil into the mixture. This should take about one minute.

Store in a clean jar, and refrigerate until needed.

Toss the salad greens in the tulip petal sauce just before serving.

Warning: Do not use sprayed flowers from florists, non-organically grown flowers or flowers when you are not sure of their edibility. Many flowers are poisonous and some poisonous flowers share common names that are similar or the same as flowers that are safe to consume. Two good reference books on edible flowers in the English language are:

Sooke Harbour House Spring Wild Rose Vinegar
By Edward Tuson and Sinclair Philip


3 Cups organic apple juice
1 Cup pear vinegar
1 Cup rose petals (Nootka, or substitute for other wild rose variety)


Add all the ingredients together in a 6 quart stainless steel pot and simmer for 3 minutes.

Strain, cool, and store in a dark, cool place.

Add equal amounts of hazelnut oil and vinegar to use as the salad dressing

Stinging nettle early spring soup with minted sour cream
By Edward Tuson and Sinclair Philip

(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

Minted Sour Cream Ingredients:

3/4 Cup sour cream
1 Tsp mint, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely grated yellow onion


Combine all ingredients.

Refrigerate while the soup is being prepared.

Stinging Nettle Soup Ingredients:

2 Cups stinging nettle leaves, tightly packed
3 Cups chicken broth
1/2 Cup celery, sliced thin
2 Tbsp garlic, sliced thin
1 bay leaf
1 Cup yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 Cup butter, salted
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper


In a medium sized pot melt the butter over medium heat.

Once melted, add the onion and celery and cook until translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

Then add the chicken broth and bay leaf and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add the stinging nettles and simmer for 4 minutes

Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Blend the soup mixture on high speed in a blender for 4 minutes and return the soup to the pot.

Bring the soup to a boil and then garnish with 1 tablespoon of minted sour cream and serve.


When handling the Stinging Nettles wear rubber gloves. If you get stung, rub your skin with strong vinegar or, if you are harvesting them in the wild, rub the affected area with pulverized plantain.

Sooke Harbour House Bull Kelp Emulsion
(To be served with Salmon or Sablefish)
By Edward Tuson and Sinclair Philip

Ingredients for The Pickling Liquid:

1 fresh bull kelp stipe (3 inch long and two inch wide from the fat end before the bulb)
1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
1 Cup water
1/2 Tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/4 Tsp dried coriander seeds
1 Dry or fresh bay leaf
2 cloves, skinned and cut in half, organic garlic
1 Cup wildflower honey

To Pickle The Bull Kelp:

Pour all the ingredients for the pickling liquid, except the bull kelp, into a medium sized pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches the boil, lower to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Place the bull kelp in a small, non-reactive bowl and pour the hot pickling liquid over top and cover. Once cool, remove the bull kelp from the bowl and place on a cutting board. Slice into 1/8th inch rings.

You can set this aside in your refrigerator for up to two weeks in the pickling liquid.

Ingredients For The Emulsion:

1 pickled bull kelp (3 inches long and 2 inches wide piece already sliced into rings)
2 organic eggs
1/4 Cup apple cider (substitute champagne vinegar)
2 Cups organic canola oil
1 clove, skinned and sliced in 1/8 inch slices, organic garlic
1 Cup arugula leaves (preferably young leaves)
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
3/4 Cups water

To Prepare The Emulsion:

Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender.

Blend at high speed for 2 minutes.

Slowly add the oil until fully incorporated.

Season with the salt and pepper.


Serve in a bowl next to the whole fish.

Edward Tuson