After an unseasonably warm March and early April, the local weather gods of Montreal have woken up and decided to reassert their authority. There was snow on Mount Royal yesterday morning, and a tracing of ice on my balcony. It’s been blustering steadily for days, with on-again, off-again rain.
But it is only now that it really feels like spring. Even when I was wandering around in a sundress and light cardigan the other week watching a gladiator match in the centre of campus, it wasn’t quite spring yet. But now, now there are fiddleheads.
Maybe I’m more of a New Englander than I thought.
The mushroom stand at Jean-Talon Market is one of my favourite places in the whole market, which is far and away my favourite place in Montreal. I love to sample all the different kinds of mushrooms, admire the enormous vesses de loup, listen half-comprehending to the detailed preparation instructions those at the stand give me. On this particular visit, a sign caught my eye and made me immediately drop all meal plans for the week.
Têtes de violon.
Spring is most definitely sprung!
Fiddleheads with Garlicky Hash Browns
- 1 T butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium potato, grated, with the excess liquid squeezed away
- pinch thyme
- 1/6 lb fiddleheads, trimmed and well-washed
- 1-2 tsp good balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 eggs
- Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a cast-iron frying pan over medium head. Add the garlic and sauté until golden. Throw in the potato and thyme and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned and tender—about six minutes per side.
Meanwhile, boil two pots of water. Salt the first one and toss in the fiddleheads to blanch for about five minutes, until they’ve turned bright green and tender. Slip the second one off the heat, lower an egg or two into the water, and return to a medium flame so that the eggs can poach for 3-4 minutes, depending on how firm you want the yolks. Drain the fiddleheads, and lift the eggs onto a paper towel with a slotted spoon.
Now to arrange everything! Put the hash browns in the centre of a plate and scatter the fiddleheads on top. Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Top with the egg(s), salt and pepper, and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan.