With its colorful cover and vibrant photos, the Salade pizza vin book, from the Elena restaurant team, will guide you in your meals with friends during the summer. With his great salad recipes and mouth-watering hoagies (submarines), he is also the ideal source of inspiration for the many picnics to come.

Elena is a pizzeria located in the far west of the Saint-Henri district, on rue Notre-Dame Ouest, in an old brown brick commercial building that really didn’t look like much. Despite this, thanks to the force of attraction of its owners Ryan Gray, Emma Cardarelli and Marley Sniatowsky, the exceptional cuisine of Janice Tiefenbach, the beauty of the renovated premises, the benevolence of the welcome and its undeniable ” trendiness”, the restaurant was an immediate success when it opened in 2018. And this success continues to this day, although part of the clientele has migrated to the group’s new establishment, Gia, also located in the corners of Saint-Henri, between the Home Depot and the Ville-Marie highway.

Also owner of Nora Gray, the small group is increasingly distinguished by its desire to provide “healthy” catering. For the clientele, of course, but above all for its workers. And that is what we can read in his first book, which is also in a way a manifesto of his philosophy, without ever becoming heavy or moralizing.

Senior Writer Stephanie Mercier Voyer shares how the opening of Elena marked a turning point in the careers of those who participated. Having suppered crazy hours and drunken festive evenings, the 30-something restaurateurs had decided that Elena would do things differently. It gives a book with a lot of personality.

This is obviously also reflected in the plate.

The dishes of the moment follow the arrivals. The wines are completely natural.

If the idea of ​​a written work dates back almost to the opening of the restaurant, it was the production of two electronic books during the pandemic that crystallized the project. “We raised about $60,000 for the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund,” says Stéphanie Mercier Voyer proudly. It really brought us closer to our community. »

That and the famous hoagies, which helped Elena through COVID-19. These gigantic submarine sandwiches filled with mortadella and marinades, eggplant-parmigiana, fried chicken and other decadent toppings have become almost as popular as the restaurant’s pizzas. People lined up (respecting the distance!) in the alley to pick up their 12 inches of gustatory happiness. The skillful blends of flavors are revealed in the book.

Even if it is not named in the title, the dessert section is not to be overlooked in Salade pizza vin. Michelle Marek, one of the best pastry chefs in the province, is the author of several recipes that we can’t wait to try. She is no longer an employee of the group, having baked her last cake at the Gia just over a month ago, and spends her time between Vermont and Montreal.

Stéphanie Mercier Voyer, meanwhile, left the metropolis and now lives in New York. She’s the manager of the acclaimed wine bar The Four Horsemen in Brooklyn, and is working on another cookbook about winemaker cooking. If the original team is no longer as tightly knit geographically as it was when the book project was conceived, it remains a community of spirit that radiates beyond this very special place that is Elena.

A few years ago, Steph had a big rock climbing accident and was forced to spend part of the summer in the hospital. We were all very scared, but things would have been even worse if she had had to settle for the food served there and missed the best of the summer harvest. Luckily, she was brought dishes from the Elena almost every day, including this crunchy, tangy, and herbaceous cucumber salad. A celebration of summer and friendship in every bite, which is very comforting when you’re caught between four walls.

Servings: 4-6 Special Equipment: Blender

Makes 250 ml (1 cup)

This approach to marinating is quick and easy. It softens the “raw onion” side of the French shallot and makes it the perfect companion for your summer salads. The marinade liquid is also delicious and versatile, and can replace the vinegar in many salad dressing recipes.