Jeremy Charles is a rugged outdoorsman who grew up selling cod tongues for pocket change, once ran the kitchen at the Molson-Bronfman fly-fishing camp in Quebec and still hunts moose and ptarmigan whenever he gets the chance.
And yet the burly Newfoundlander, who is the chef at Raymonds in St. John’s, also loves to be at home with his wife and 19-month-old son, puttering around in the industrial kitchen he put together himself and thinking about what his guests might enjoy.
“Sunday, Monday we’re closed, so that’s our time to entertain at home,” Charles says in his East Coast lilt.
Jeremy Bonia, Charles’s close friend and partner at the restaurant, is a frequent visitor and, since Bonia is also a sommelier (even taking home an award for Raymonds at international food symposium Terroir earlier this spring), he brings the wine. And to eat? Right now, Charles is all about snow crab.
“It’s a beautiful, wild and sustainable Newfoundland product,” he says of the crustacean, which he serves as a crab boil at the family cabin in Old Perlican or in pasta, with fresh peas, for Sunday supper at his home near downtown St. John’s.
Fresh homemade pasta is lovely, but you can use dry tagliatelle without losing the beautiful flavour and freshness of this dish.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 1/2 tsp water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup melted butter
1 pound fresh snow crab steamed or boiled for 5 minutes, then shucked
1/2 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, sautéed in a bit of butter
1 cup summer peas, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful baby pea greens or chopped fresh parsley and tarragon
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the pasta, measure the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Combine the eggs, water and oil separately and mix lightly before slowly pouring the liquid into the dry ingredients with the motor running until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a pasta machine or rolling pin, roll the dough until it is almost thin enough to see through; cut it into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for 2 to 3 minutes; drain. Add melted butter, crab, mushrooms and peas and toss gently. Finish with lemon juice, zest and fresh greens. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and season to taste.