Battle of Ingredients #3: Farmers’ Market Edition

Battle of Ingredients

The next Battle of Ingredients happened this past weekend.

Here in Canada, we had our Victoria Day long weekend. Montreal was also full of festivities as the city celebrated its 375th birthday. A lot more festivities are on the way as Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday as well. If you do want to ask about the 375th birthday in a 150 year country, Montreal was a French colony and established before Canada was was formed under confederation. That is the short form of the explanation. Since I do get asked that question once in a while, so just in case you are curious 🙂

This edition is all about Farmer’s Market. A fantastic idea from my collaborator for this series, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road who also happened to have written a great post on the Montreal celebrations. Montreal has a few markets strewn both on the island and in the suburban areas. As some of you may have gathered, we do venture frequently in the suburban surrounding cities of Montreal and this edition’s highlight will be some of the items we bought and the local businesses from Le Marche des Jardiniers located in La Prairie, Quebec. It also happens to be Lobster season so we made a pretty last minute decision to pick up two lobsters at the supermarket and try our hand at it.

Let’s check out our menu for the evening!

Our Wine of the Evening

Bread from L’Amour du Pain

L'Amour du Pain

Main Meal

Phoebe: Oven-Baked Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages are from Charcuterie Frick

Sausages here are 4 flavors:
– Herbes de Provences
– Blueberry Maple Syrup
– Smoked Meat
– Shallots & White Wine

Being a mother of a toddler, Phoebe’s learnt the concept of efficient cooking. Fast and easy to put together. She had done this dish before a few months ago. The concept is to use the oil/fat in the sausages to also give flavor to the mushrooms at the bottom.

My tie for sausages are the blueberry and maple and shallots and white wine. They all tasted great just a preference to those two flavors. Mushrooms turned out perfect as well.

Kim & Phoebe: Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

Endives were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

 Recipe via Pinterest:

I have only made endives once before (same applies to fiddleheads below). My memory was blurry on how I made it in general. Pinterest gave a simple recipe on putting this together: salt, pepper, honey, fresh thyme and oil/butter for marinade which had to be warmed first then drizzled on the endives before popping it in the oven.

For this dish, I have to do some reading on how to cut endives and prepare them. There was still some bitterness left in it and it has to do with what to remove to prevent it. However, the sauce was pretty good. I did have to modify it to a lower portion because we had less than what the recipe asked for.

Kim: Roasted Fiddlehead

Fiddleheads were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Fiddlehead

Recipe via Pinterest:

Fiddlehead ferns are in season right now. They also happen to be a pain to prepare because of all the washing and cleaning that it takes. With the said, this called for a simple recipe to compensate.

When things get crazy, my mind runs off. This is what happened to the roasted fiddleheads. They ended up being forgotten in the oven a few minutes more and got crispy. It was like fiddlehead crisps which because of the simple salt and pepper worked for myself however, might not be for everyone.

Kim & Phoebe: Boiled Lobster

Boiled Lobster

Lobsters probably aren’t supposed to be the star of the night but it was because it took almost everyone and a few recruits to help us with chopping and cleaning and cooking and plating. Phoebe ate these with garlic butter however, I ate them just like that and it was delicious. Most of the credit goes to her in completing this lobster cooking task.


Kim: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Recipe via Pinterest:

Finally, my forte! Fresh rhubarb from the garden and frozen strawberries yielded this pie. I did use store bought pie shells and this somehow felt a little defective as it had a fold in the shell before going into the freezer so there was a gigantic side opening and that is where the juices and excess water leaked out. While this seemed pretty watery, this recipe is solid. I was worried that the rhubarb wouldn’t be ripe enough and be too tart but turns out it worked out pretty great.

That is a wrap for Battle of Ingredients!
A huge meal and great teamwork got this done and ready for everyone. Plus, it highlighted some of our local vendors which is always important.

Breakfast: Fiddlehead Omelette

Today we’re looking at a little more of an experiment. I’m not sure if any of you know what this vegetable called fiddleheads are. This is what it looks like.


I’ve personally never tasted it but this cookbook that bought about Quebec foods and recipes featured fiddleheads as a spring harvest in our lovely province of Quebec. What better time to give this a try while its late spring although I am still a tad late when its one of the earliest harvests. Before we move one, let me tell you what fiddleheads are. They are foraged in Quebec woods from shoots of the ostrich fern in early-May. I’m not sure what it’ll taste like but that is why we are here.

From the recipe in Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong, here is our take on Fiddlehead Omelette.

Fiddlehead Omelette

Fiddlehead Omelette

Serves 2


2 cups fresh fiddleheads
3 tbsps olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp verjus, cider vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1 tbsp butter
4 eggs
3 tbsp whipping cream or whole milk
Salt and freshly ground epper
1 cup shredded Le Marechal, Comte, or aged cheddar cheese

  1. Put fiddleheads in a large resealable plastic bag, add cold water to cover, close and shake to clean off the brown husks and any dirt from the fiddleheads. With your hands, pick out the fiddleheads and place in a bowl. Discard water in the bag. Repeat the washing process with clean water at least once more, until water in the bag is clear. Drain and dry fiddleheads with towels.  Cut tail ends off fiddleheads.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add fiddleheads and boil for 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a large, heavy frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and shallot until softened and lightly colored, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add fiddleheads and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Drizzle with verjus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In an 8 inch heavy omelette pan or nonstick frying pan, melt butter over low heat.  In a bowl, whisk eggs with cream.  Add pinches of salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture into the heated pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan to distribute the egg mixture.  While the omelette is still fairly moist, spread choose and fiddleheads in the centre of the egg mixture. Continue cooking for another minute.  When the cheese starts to melt, fold half the omelette over itself and tip out onto a warmed serving plate.

Before we talk about the taste of fiddleheads and how our omelette turned out, I think we need to look at the process a little. Making fiddleheads is not incredibly time consuming but it does take a tad more prep time. It could be because I was being overly cautious about how clean it was so I did put it in the large resealable plastic bag and cleaned with water. Its a refreshing way to clean vegetables to say the least but to get clear water, I did it for 4-5 times.

There were some changes to the recipes:

  • Shallots were omitted. We just didn’t have any.
  • We used normal balsamic vinegar and not white
  • Cheese was replaced to lactose-free cheese

Fiddleheads taste a little like spinach. I was searching for that taste that it had. It is also one that some might not like, but I did. My guess is that if it was overcooked and mushy, it wouldn’t have the enjoyment of its slightly crunchier texture. Except crunchy isn’t even the way to describe it because you might think its raw when it isn’t. Although we did veer off from the recipe a little, it turned out pretty well. The thought process behind it is that we are trying something new so omelettes seemed like the way to go.

A little additional fact if you want to give this a go, according to the book, fiddleheads are actually quite easy to make. They make the comparison of cooking it like asparagus where you really can just use butter for flavoring. Its flavor will be enough to make it savoury. The two ways they suggest is to boil for 6 to 10 minutes until crisp-tender (there’s the word for the texture) or steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Just a little side tip for all of you.

I’ve been rummaging in Made For Quebec these days, so expect some more recipes inspired from there soon. Possible something to do with strawberries and rhubarb since now is the harvest season for them and I have made my first harvest. 🙂

Have you tried fiddleheads before? Do you cook them? How do you make it? If not, what are some local Spring produce in your area?