Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's all happening at the market

The fridge was empty, so we went to the market today... it was like being in a candy store! There were so many interesting things to see and to eat!

The people at Jardins Sauvages had lots of interesting wild veg on offer like dog's tooth lily leaves (aka trout lily or Erythronium). These were being sold as salad leaves. I didn't know that they could be eaten raw, as I was told that most wild foods are best consumed cooked. I didn't even know that they were eaten outside of Japan! I've only ever eaten trout lilies cooked like spinach. Briefly boiled, and refreshed in cold water, the leaves are squeezed dry and served with a miso based vinaigrette. Yummy.

Miso Vinaigrette

1 heaping tablespoon of red or white miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime/lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix all the ingredients together, and it is ready to toss with cooked greens or a crunchy salad (chopped veg or sprouts.) It can be stretched out with any neutral oil (corn, safflower, canola) to use as a dressing on lettuce leaves - it really livens up bland iceberg.

Dog's tooth lilies are a protected species in most of its native habitats (Erythronium can be found in temperate, hardwood forests in North America, Europe and Asia) so I do not advise you go and picked these gems yourself. However, if you live in an expanding suburb, you might have noticed some woodland slated for construction: if there are any trout lilies there, you can pick those, as they will likely be bulldozed over.

In fact, if you love wild flowers and have a spot of shady garden, I say go out and scope future construction sites. While I would never condone the harvesting of protected species, transplanting specimens from doomed woodlots are an act of conservation and of nose thumbing to suburban sprawl.

There are lots of asparagus to be had right now. Though most were of the imported variety, there were two stalls announcing Quebec crops (!!!!), so I think it's official: Asparagus are here! I think there are few regions left in the Northern hemisphere that are not yet in the asparagus zone (Atlantic Canada, the Prairies/Plains, and Scandinavia.)

I was sorry to hear that Box Offices does not like asparagus. I don't know what to say to that except you don't know what you're missing! To everyone else I say: Bon app'!

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