Sense of Place: The Food and Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest

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The food from the Pacific Northwest is simultaneously unique and familiar. Typified by simple preparations with just a few key ingredients, the cuisine takes the best the land has to offer in any season (which is a lot!) and turns it into something that will comfort and satisfy any wayward traveler to this region.

Put simply, the food from the Pacific Northwest is the Pacific Northwest.

Perhaps because this area was settled later than other parts of the country, ethnic and cultural foods seem to have had less influence over the region's cuisine. Still, you'll find threads of Welsh and Scandinavian cuisine here and there.

The flavors in most of these dishes are fresh and seasonal. The preparations are often simple, highlighting one or two ingredient with basic spices.

Soups and Sides:
Celery Root Soup with Top Shelf Beet Relish
Fresh Shell Bean and Sage Spread
Wilted Arugula and Pear Salad
Finnish-Style Smoked Salmon Chowder from Made in Oregon
Pemmican from La Compagnie
Creamed Morels and Potatoes from The Forager Press
Split Pea Soup from Simply Recipes

Main Dishes:
Pecan Crusted Salmon with Ramps and Purple Potatoes
Trout with Hazelnuts, Lemon, and Parsley Brown Butter from Epicurious
Crab Legs with Mustard Dipping Sauce from Epicurious
Pacific Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce from the Food Network
Linguine with Chantarelles and Leeks from The Forager Press
Venison Steaks (and a whole lot more!) from Visit Montana

Sweets and Extras:
Rustic Pear and Apple Galette
Cherry Custard Tart
Bara Brith (Welsh tea bread) from BBC Good Food
Wild Huckleberry Pie from AllRecipes.com

What other foods do you associate with the Northwest?

Related:
• To all Sense of Place posts
Cooking by Feel: French Flavors and Ingredients

(Images: Flickr members David Sifry, Tingley, and Woodly Wonder Works licensed under Creative Commons)