A Food & Travel Blog

Cookbook Review – Serge Dansereau’s “Seasonal Kitchen”

18/10/2013 | By

"Seasonal Kitchen" Serge Dansereau

I’ve been a fan of Serge Dansereau’s ever since I ate at his iconic Sydney restaurant, The Bather’s Pavillion, about ten years ago and was struck by the freshness and vibrancy of his food. A Canadian by birth and now an Australian citizen who has been a leader on our culinary scene for over 30 years, Serge has been called ‘the father of the fresh food movement’.  His long-held conviction that great food needs quality ingredients led him to be one of our first chefs to seek out and encourage the production of new and emerging varieties of fresh produce, blazing the trail for all those who value the diverse, high-quality, seasonal produce that is found so much more easily today.

Serge’s “Seasonal Kitchen” is his most recent book and is another lovely hard-backed edition from ABC Books and Harper Collins Australia. It features beautiful images from William Meppem (who has worked on several of Dansereau’s previous books) and focuses on the seasonal Australian produce which inspires him, with recipes grounded in his classical cooking techniques, but which embrace the wider world. Under the influence of the cuisines of China, India, Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia Serge shows us how to take a modern-day dish and turn it from a good recipe to a great one, no matter the season. Following a tried-and-true format, Serge takes us through each of the seasons in turn, highlighting the best produce of each and using his skills to help us make the most of them. He does this course by course, including a selection of the necessary basics and his chef’s notes at the end of the book.

Serge Dansereau's Roasted Salmon with Saba, from "Seasonal Kitchen"

The techniques he uses are well within the reach of even a basic cook, and with seasonal stunners such as artichoke & steamed lettuce with thyme and anchovy butter sauce for spring, apricot and ricotta lemon slice for summer, mushroom soup with ricotta and sorrel dumplings for autumn and roast pork shoulder with fennel and cumquat and ginger sauce for winter, there’s no reason why any of us can’t be wowing everyone who sits down at our table all year round. I think what I love best about this book is that Serge takes a few simple, fresh ingredients which we can all find relatively easily and, with a little imagination and skill, turns them into a sophisticated dish that anyone can be proud of.

The recipe I’ve chosen to share with you is a prime example of just that principle – fresh, quality ingredients, simply, but thoughtfully prepared to show them off to their best advantage. We had this roast salmon with green beans, pancetta and saba for our family dinner last night, but I’d be just as happy to offer this to dinner guests. Don’t be put off if you can’t get hold of saba – just substitute vincotto or a very good balsamic reduction. As you can see from my photo, I added some fresh asparagus I bought from the farmers market, so don’t be afraid to play with this a bit.

Roast Salmon with Green Beans, Pancetta & Saba
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Saba is similar to vincotto or balsamic vinegar, which are both appropriate substitutions.
Serves: 4
  • 1 bunch shallots (spring onions)
  • 4 x 180 gm (6 oz.) salmon fillets, skin off
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 400gms (14 oz.) green beans, blanched
  • ¼ cup saba
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Trim the spring onions, removing roots & green leaves, leaving about 8 cm of white part.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Pat fish dry with paper towel. Lay 2 strips pancetta side by side & place salmon on pancetta. Fold one end of the strips of pancetta over the fish, then roll the fish over to complete the portion. The pancetta folds should be on the underside of the fish.
  4. Heat half the olive oil over a medium heat in large frying pan. Place the fish, service side down, in the pan, pressing to ensure complete contact with the pan. Cook for 4 minutes, before turning carefully and cooking for another 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the fish from the pan, place on an oven tray and put into the oven for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Fry the spring onions in the remaining oil until golden, add beans and saute for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide the beans and place onto 4 plates, top with the salmon and drizzle with the saba.




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  1. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I admire chefs who encourage us to cook with fresh, seasonal produce to create fantastic meals. No foam, no tricks – just simple, good food. I think I’d love this book.

  2. Kate

    I have a seasonal kitchen too but way way more basic – I certainly could use some of his inspiration. I love the idea of the ricotta and sorrel dumpings.

  3. Hotly Spiced

    I live within walking distance of Bather’s Pavilion. Isn’t it in the most beautiful setting and I just love that beautiful old building – nothing that close to the beach would be approved these days! I do admire Serge for all he’s done for our food scene but I have to confess to not being a frequent diner at his restaurant because the prices scare me to death xx

  4. InTolerant Chef

    Oh how yummy indeed! Seasonal cooking is so much tastier and healthier, so it’s great to see a respected Chef putting out a whole cookbook on the subject- especially if all the recipes are this yummy 🙂

  5. The Food Sage

    Serge … what a man. I met him on a wonderful food trip to Monaco last year, by invite of Alan Ducasse. He is certainly a national treasure. I’ve just been gifted a lovely bottle of vincotto and now know where to put it to use – the salmon and pancetta looks lovely.

  6. Shirley from Rhubarb Whine

    The trend for wrapping protein in pork is returning. I have seen bacon wrapped, pancetta wrapped, pastrami wrapped, all just this morning. (Am I complaining? No….)

  7. Amanda McInerney

    I agree, Shirley – it’s a very happy turn of events!

  8. Lizzy (Good Things)

    I’ve not been to the Bather’s Pavillion, nor did I have the opportunity to invite Serge to Canberra years ago, but I love the sound of his recipes… and prefer chefs who enhance the quality of fresh, seasonal produce, rather than masking it with all kinds of sauces.