Angela Aiello + Aiden Galligan talk Summer Wine and Smoked Asparagus

angela aiello

This Summer our intrepid wine columnist (talk about a great job!) Angela Aiello will be spending time with five Toronto chefs discussing food and wine.

In particular, Aveleda Vinho Verde wines. Aveleda Vinho Verde from Portugal is refreshing, light and crisp – perfect for patio sipping and summer dining.

Here she sits down with Aiden Galligan from Uncle Smokes BBQ and talks Toronto diversity, cooking philosophy and his recipe for Smoked Asparagus and Corn Salad with Lime Vinaigrette.

angela aiello

What’s your favourite place to enjoy a refreshing glass of white wine?
Nothing is better than sipping a glass of crisp white wine lakeside at the cottage, surrounded by friends and family, with some slow-cooked barbecue, watching the sun go down. Simply unbeatable.
Who most inspires you in your cooking philosophy?
I am most inspired by my family, my friends and my community. Cooking isn’t just about feeding people – it’s about caring for those around you, and trying to make the moment a little bit better.
What is the most challenging thing about being a chef?
Balance. Whether it is finding the right balance with flavours in a dish, or balancing my time in the kitchen with my family at home. I’ve learned that even being a little bit out of balance can end in disaster if left unchecked.

What do you love most about the Toronto culinary scene?
The endless inspiration it has to offer. Even after working in London and New York, I find Toronto is unmatched when it come to culinary influences and creativity. From my home in East Toronto to my kitchen in the West, I pass by so many vibrant cultures with their unique foods and flavours. No other city can boast such diversity!

When you were asked to pair a dish with Aveleda Vinho Verde from Portugal, what kind of ideas came to mind?
Freshness. Summer is a very fresh time of year, the energy of the world around us awakening from the winter is what drove this dish.

What did you think about these wines? Any insights you would like to share with us?
The wines were very refreshing; precisely the thing you’d want after a hard day of work. Sipping them relaxed and invigorated me; highly recommended after a long day in a hot kitchen!

Can you explain your dish and why it pairs so well with Aveleda?
The dish is simple; I wanted to showcase Ontario asparagus and add a little smoke to add another dimension of flavour. It pairs well with Aveleda because the crisp profile of the wine balances with the smoked asparagus. Both the dish and the wine are two sides of the same coin; both flavourful and refreshing in their way.

Smoked Asparagus and Corn Salad

Serves 6
24 pieces asparagus (with woody ends trimmed off) 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 ears corn (kernels cut from the cob)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup oregano, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Lime Vinaigrette

1/4 cup lime juice 3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon sugar
For the vinaigrette, add the sugar and salt to the lime juice and whisk until dissolved. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified
Blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes in salted boiling water, drain and cool.
Marinate the asparagus in the olive and smoke for 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste then dress with the lime vinaigrette.
Lay the smoked asparagus side by side on a plate and spoon the salad on top.

Aveleda Vinho Verde is available at the LCBO and across Canada for $10.95.