1 July, Canada Day (sometimes known as Canada’s birthday) is a time for friends and family casually getting together, with lots of food. Picnics and barbecues are popular ways to celebrate.
Special citizenship ceremonies, air shows, and fireworks are also a part of our national day of celebration. Canada Day is a day to take advantage of and enjoy the great Canadian outdoors. The day signals the real start of summer – school is out, the days are longer, and the weather is conducive to eating most meals outside.
If you’re going to celebrate Canada Day, do so with food. It’s hard to define a specific menu because the country is made up of so many different cultures and cuisines – really, anything goes! However, grilling is always a popular option when you’re entertaining outside. At most Canadian barbecues you will find chicken wings (try replacing the honey in this chicken wings recipe with maple syrup for a Canadian touch!). Sides of salmon and fish kebabs are also great choices because they can be prepared in advance and don’t take very long to cook.
No BBQ would be complete without burgers, and Jamie’s ultimate Canada Day burger is a sure-to-please option. Alternatively, this grilled steak salad is a great way to combine mains and sides all on one plate. But don’t reserve the grill for meats and burgers alone: take your pizzas to the next level by grilling them too (and making them super-Canadian with beer-caramelized onions!).
Sandwiches, wraps and tacos are a great way to offer guests dishes they can customize. Jamie’s rainbow salad wrap is a great example – set out bowls of the various grated vegetables and get people to choose their own rainbow filling and dress their wraps themselves. Tacos can be assembled in the same way, and the ingredients are easy to prepare in advance. Classic chicken sandwiches and coleslaw are also surefire winners for a hot day – easy to eat outdoors and all the great flavours of summer!
For an outdoor meal, I like to offer a variety of different salads, which are especially essential for making a good barbecue great. A classic chopped green salad serves brilliantly every time, but for something really special, how about a tomato carpaccio with raspberries and burrata to take advantage of the local in-season tomatoes?
Potato salad is always a crowd-pleaser too, and with so many varieties (and colours!) of new potatoes available, you have the opportunity to bring a little more colour to the table, too. If you want to bring a guaranteed smile to your guests’ faces, though, try this candied bacon green salad (and use maple syrup to candy the bacon for a true Canadian touch!).
For more ideas on how to create a great salad, check out Jamie’s principles for superb salads.
When it comes to desserts, there’s nothing like a cool trifle or pavlova on a warm summer’s day. Use red berries exclusively for a “Canada flag” colour scheme (or hey, make an actual maple leaf shape on top with the berries!).
Alternatively, if baking is your thing, how about some gorgeous cinnamon buns featuring that quintessential Canadian ingredient, maple syrup?
However Canadians celebrate Canada Day, there’s bound to be good eats and drinks involved. What’s your favourite dish for celebrating your national day?