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A Passion for Fish (June 10, 2004)

The Passionate Cook arrived just at the right moment – we'd been hoping for some fresh new ideas for spring, and here they are. Author Karen Barnaby is the Executive Chef at the celebrated Fish House in Vancouver and, thank you Karen, has assembled over 200 of her favourite simple-yet-sensuous recipes, as the blurb on the back cover says. These are lovely dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients with vibrant flavour combinations. Read on!

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (55 KB)


Clams Steamed in Spicy Coconut Lime Broth

Oh my, what a fabulous combination of east and west and all over town. Karen Barnaby has pulled together sweet little clams in broth of coconut milk and ginger and seasoned it with just the right amount of lime juice. The best part is it's sooooo easy! Serve with really good warm bread for dunking and a crisp green salad with red onions and orange slices. Mango sorbet for dessert completes this lush meal!

Serves 4

  • 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup canned or bottled clam nectar
  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes, well drained and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 3 lbs. fresh Manila clams, scrubbed

In a large pot, combine all the ingredients except the clams. Bring to a boil and add the clams. Cover and cook until the clams open, shaking the pot occasionally. Ladle the clams and broth into heated bowls and serve.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Alsace Pinot Gris, Kabinett-level Riesling from the Rheingau or chilled Amontillado sherry.


Salmon Bake with Sour Cream, Bacon and New Red Potatoes

We were thinking salmon and found this recipe; the question of what for dinner was quickly and deliciously solved! Thank you, Karen Barnaby! Chef Barnaby was thinking salmon too; the idea spun around in her head for a while and emerged as a combination of salmon, cheesy spinach and potatoes that became one of the best sellers in the history of the Fish House in Stanley Park.

It will be a best seller at your place as well – they'll ask to come back next weekend, too!

Serves 4

  • 1 lb. small red potatoes
  • 1 lb. spinach, stems removed, washed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded, extra old white Cheddar cheese or Asiago
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 6-ounce skinless boneless salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 8 slices good quality bacon
  • 4 Tbsp sour cream, heaping
  • 1 Tbsp minced chives

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until just tender, approximately 20–25 minutes. Drain and cool.

Place the spinach in a large pot, turn the heat to high and cover with a lid. Steam until it wilts, turning it over occasionally. Transfer to a large plate AND SPREAD OUT TO COOL. When cool, squeeze into small balls with your hands to remove the water. Finely chop and place in a bowl. Add the melted butter, cheese, garlic and salt. Mix well. The potatoes and the spinach mixture may be prepared up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.

Slice the potatoes into ¼-inch slices and arrange in slightly overlapping rows in an 8×11½-inch baking dish. Season well with salt and pepper and dot with half the 1 Tbsp butter. Divide the spinach mixture into 4 equal portions, flatten each into an elongated patty and place one in each quarter of the baking dish over the potatoes. Place a salmon fillet over each patty of spinach, sprinkle with the lemon juice, dot with the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Cover snugly with foil and bake for 20–30 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

While the salmon is cooking, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble when cool. When the salmon is done, lift each portion onto heated individual plates or leave in the baking dish. Top each piece of salmon with a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle the bacon and chives over the sour dream and serve immediately.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Red Burgundy, Oregon or Ontario Pinot Noir; if you prefer white, an oak-aged Chardonnay or Fumé Blanc from California.

We wish to thank Whitecap Books for permission to publish recipes and photographs from The Passionate Cook by Karen Barnaby. Photographs by Jenn Walton/Digiwerx Studio. ©2004 Karen Barnaby.


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (55 KB)




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