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Montreal public market thread-2009

I hereby propose that we report seasonal produce sightings, new stands, new ice cream offerings and ups and comings of the markets (I guess mostly JTM and Atwater) in this thread.

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  1. Quebec fiddleheads are in. I saw some at Maisonneuve market last week.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SnackHappy

      Fiddleheads are such a tease. I love them so but I find it's almost impossible to get them fresh enough unless you pick them yourself and use on the same day. Whenever I see these at the marker, I am so tempted.

    2. "New" veggie this year, fresh chick peas; either I was not looking previous years, but it seems to be the rage this spring.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Maximilien

        Definitely new. I've also seen them at Eden, and also spotted a dish at Sparrow's lunch menu. Fresh chickpeas are the new arugula.

          1. re: The Chemist

            I just prepared them the same way I do for fresh green peas.

            1. re: The Chemist

              If they are fresh enough, I snack on them, raw, while watching bad TV. My grandma used to have these in her garden, and unfortunately the taste starts deteriorating the minute after they are picked; just like peas. You can also briefly steam them in the pod, like edamame. I don't eat the pods, just the shelled peas.

              Add them to salads, sautee them with butter. Reservoir had an interesting hummus type concoction as a side, perhaps couple of weeks ago. It was very green tasting, without much heavy tahini tones. I am guessing they used some other binder, like mayonnaise, or yogurt. I was impressed.

            2. re: emerilcantcook

              D'oh - I tried Eden tonite but couldn't find any of these fresh chickpeas anywhere. Did I miss the wave?

              1. re: anachemia

                I think you did. I haven't seen them in a while now.

                But the market is full of beautiful fava beans, and I saw sour cherries. Raspberries are looking really great and in season. Bought my first yellow plums, hope they are good this year. And for those of you who are pickling, I bought a big box of really nice kirby cucumbers.

                1. re: moh

                  moh, do you know when Royal figs will be in season?

                  1. re: souschef

                    When do the white figs come out?

                    1. re: Andria

                      White figs? Never heard of them before. What are they like?

                    2. re: souschef

                      No Royal figs yet. They usually are out later on in August. They are usually from Greece.

                      So far all I am seeing are the California figs, and mostly the green figs. I haven't bought any yet, they don't look juicy and luscious yet.

                      I don't know what white figs are, I'm afraid. Are you referring to the pale green ones? Or something different?

                      1. re: moh

                        Yup, the pale green ones are the ones to which I am referring... sorry for the confusion. Both the small ones and the big ones.

                        1. re: Andria

                          They are there! But I am giving them another week or two before trying. I like my figs goozy and sticky, and these are not yet there. They would be perfect for grilled preparations right now, and firm enough to throw in salads. They look lovely, but I am waiting for some of the flats to have a few that have broken open, oozing honey and fig juice. I just eat those whole, don't do anything to interfere with their figgy goodness.

                          1. re: moh

                            Where, in your opinion, is the best place to get them?

                            1. re: Andria

                              I just go along all the shops on the south side of the market. I love Chez Nino, but sometimes some of the other fruit places have nice flats too. They run about $18-20 per flat, and sometimes one place will be cheaper than the others, or have nicer looking flats. Don't forget about the shop near Capitol, a lot of people don't make it over there, but they can have good prices and selection.

                              1. re: moh

                                I picked up a box of green figs at fruiterie Mile End on Parc just below Bernard yesterday for $6. They're good. The one of the markets, I realize, but what an amazing price!

                                1. re: moh

                                  The green figs have been about $8-10 per smallish flat of figs, a pretty good price. Still haven't seen the black or Royal figs yet.

              2. I was happy to see the nut stand back at JTM this weekend.

                2 Replies
                1. re: FoodNovice

                  Hell yeah, they have chocolate and cocoa covered almonds and chocolate dipped hazelnuts that are new and really good. Still hoping they'll carry Marcona almonds though. I'll tell Mathieu, one of the owners, about them.

                2. I bought morels at Nino at JTM about a week ago, for $69 per lb.

                  I posted this before, but as I mentioned a recipe, it got moved to the recipe seciton.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: souschef

                    I just bought some asparagus at Mil'herbes and Birri this morning at JTM. They were pretty much everywhere.

                    1. re: Simon Patrice

                      The Kiosque Mont Royal had local asparagus and fiddleheads yesterday, about 2 bucks a bunch/bag. They were looking good.

                  2. There's a little known grocery on the corner of De Bullion and Roy in the Plateau that has the absolutely most fabulous and fresh produce I have ever seen. Unfortunately, you should only go on Saturdays when the owner goes to the market and brings all the lovely stuff back. Yesterday they had lovely fiddleheads(fresh!) for 1.99/lb as well as some lovely wild mushroom(pieds bleus and others). The prices are way better than JTM. As I write this, I wonder why I am spreading the word....it is such a small place they sell out by 5pm on a Saturday. The rest of the week it is hit and miss.

                    1. Anybody know when that new quebec grown garlic will be at the markets

                      1. Had some of the new Quebec strawberries yesterday - smaller and more vibrant the the California berries I've been eating up til now. They are still a touch on the tart side, but they are so good! Can't wait for the season to get rolling.

                        Made a lovely pasta with some fresh-shelled peas. The peas are a bit bigger than I like, I wish I could get a whole bag of petite pois, but they are fresh and delicious. I often eat a bunch of them raw.

                        So many nice flowers and edible plants! One of my favorite times to visit Jean-Talon Market.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: moh

                          moh, the next time you make the pasta with peas, first cook some diced onin till translucent, then add some chopped (diced) prosciutto to warm through, then the cooked peas, then add to the pasta. I love the combination (had it yesterday).

                          1. re: souschef

                            Did this recipe almost exactly, except we diced up shallots instead of onions, and we added a bunch of grated parmegiano reggiano at the end. Heaven! Great stomachs must think alike.

                            1. re: moh

                              Probably a stupid question: do you remove the peas from the shells, or you put them whole? I ask because I was reading a recipe recently and the persone was talking about removing and using only the peas, but it seems like such a waste to me. They are so good whole.

                              1. re: sweettoothMTL

                                I think it depends on the pea variety and on the recipe. I did remove the shell for this pasta recipe, but I have seen recipes that call for chopping up the whole shell. Certainly for sugar snap peas and snow peas, I eat the whole thing, pod and all. But for the ones I bought, I have never tried to eat the shell, because traditionally, I have associated these shells as being inedible, and I have always shelled them. It may be they are not as tasty as the pods of sugar snap and snow peas. Now I'm thinking I should have tried one.

                                1. re: moh

                                  Thanks for the quick answer. Altough I don't want to repress your adventuring spirit, I may be confusing the many sort of fresh peas out there, I'm far from an expect.

                        2. Did a late Friday afternoon run to JTM today and came home without a single piece of produce in hand (but hey, bought sausage, cheese, more cheese, smoked fish and all sorts of stinky goods and ate some ice cream). There were lots of flowers, seedlings, plants if you are in the market for it, but the prices are higher than my usual haunts. Some are organic, and might be worth it, but some looked like your standard issue mass market plants. Lettuce plants were looking gorgeous though and there were some interesting herbs that are harder to find. I wish I had more space to grow more food. Sigh.

                          Perhaps things get more interesting during the weekend. But alas, it is too early in the season anyway. Saw some fiddleheads, asparagus, a few stands with local lettuce. New crop of tiny purple garlic was in.

                          I couldn't find the mushroom guys. Has anyone seen them yet? Their space was taken by the newly expanded Les Cochons Tout Ronds, which seemed to have more stuff available compared to my prior visits.

                          Balkani was reorganized, with meat and dairy cases being brought to the front end of the store. I bet they will make more charcuterie sales this way. Things are more visible. I have been going there for 2 years now (feta fiend) and this is the first time I realized they have head cheese.

                          Qui Lait Cru was also reorganized, or more appropriately un-organized. There was something off with their layout, but I didn't linger enough to write a dissertation on the unfriendliness of the space.

                          There is a new cider/wine stand on the north-east end of the market, right next to Cochons tout Ronds. I didn't check their offerings.

                          Nut stand wasn't there. So I guess that one is a weekend thing.

                          Other than that, business was usual. Tomme stand was up. I hope the weekends are livelier, and hope the produce will get more interesting by mid June.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: emerilcantcook

                            What kind of feta do they have at Balkani?

                            1. re: hungryann

                              They do have at least three kinds. I always go for the Macedonian. It is the cheapest, but ironically the most subtle. It feels like home, (aka: somewhere in the territory of the Aegean sea) according to this pan-Mediterranean feta fiend. There are at least two or more different kinds (Bulgarian, Greek, etc) that are stinkier, and more robust. I love the Macedonian. I buy it by the half kilo. The only thing that is missing is the Thracian "fattines" in the feta (but it is hard to find this anyway since people are more fat conscious these days). The prices are very reasonable, around $1.5 per 100 grams.

                              You can always ask for samples. They are a friendly bunch.

                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                Macedonian as in from FYROM, I presume...?

                                1. re: hungryann

                                  I hope this subthread won't start another "Istanbul not Constantinople" style discussion like the last time someone uttered the M word.

                                  I assume it is where it comes from, but who knows maybe it is from the Macedonian region of Greece, or it could be Macedonian style made in Canada. I never wondered about it, it is just what I prefer after two years of sampling. I'll ask when I get my fix next time. I think the same product is sold at La Vieille Europe, of course for much higher price and pre-packed in small slivers.

                                  The beauty of it is in its creaminess and its ability to deliver flavor without being too pungent. Most feta I sampled in North America smell like the bottom of the ewe that gave the milk for it. I like smelly cheese usually, but I prefer my feta to be more subtle since I consume enormous quantities of it.

                            2. re: emerilcantcook

                              Mushroom guys were there a few weekends ago - they are now across from Havre aux Glaces, or that general vicinity. Nut guy was about half-way down that aisle, but it's possible he's only there on weekends.

                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                The nut stand is definitely there and open 7 days a week. They are across from Prince Noir.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  bought there last week , btw found the roasted cashews too salty

                                2. re: emerilcantcook

                                  Do remember that the JTM prices for plants include the taxes though. I don't always find them more expensive than Canadian Tire or Home Depot, about the only other garden stuff retailers near me. I'm sure garden centres could be cheaper, but not convenient for people living in old central neighbourhoods, without a car.

                                3. Going to JTM for the first time this year. Did I read that Frites Alors has closed?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: carfreeinla

                                    Nope, they're still open. Still in front of Boucherie du Marché.

                                    1. re: carfreeinla

                                      Frites Alors is alive and kicking at JTM. I had an incredible craving for fries, and I have to say this branch of Frites Alors delivered. I had previously given up on this place, as I have had substandard fries at some of the outlets (in particular, the Parc avenue site). But on this day at JTM, the fries were gloriously crispy and tasty, and the aioli the perfect accompaniment.

                                      1. re: carfreeinla

                                        They are only open during the warmer months of the year, pretty much the same as when the market returns to its spring/summer/autumn quarters and dismantles the winter structures.

                                        I treated myself to a Frites Alors frites for my birthday, and yes, they were worth the calories.

                                        1. re: lagatta

                                          I will be in town in a few weeks. so the diet begins...

                                      2. What's so special about white asparagus? I saw some at JTM today at $30 per kilo!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: souschef

                                          The white asparagus from Daignault that they sell at Louis in JTM is simply outstanding. Worth the price. It must be close to the end of the season already though.
                                          http://www.pousse-verdure-legume-exot...

                                          1. re: FoodNovice

                                            Oh thank you. I didn't realise they had LOCAL white asparagus. Hope I can still find some; I certainly don't mind spending a bit of money on such natural and healthy treats.

                                        2. I was wondering if any of the market regulars have seen Montreal melons at the various markets in the last few years? (I wouldn't think this years crop would be anywhere near finished.)

                                          Also, I was also wondering if any of the booths at jean-talon have vegetable seeds available? Especially any heirloom, or just kinda cool varieties.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: kdas

                                            I think Birri had them earlier during the season, but not sure if they still have it. You can always order online, though it is getting late to start things from seed.

                                            1. re: emerilcantcook

                                              Oh, definitely it's too late for that. That would have had to be started months ago (for melons). I was just wondering if it was possible to find seeds like these outside of the internet, and the markets seemed like a reasonable option. Plus, postage for seeds on a lot of the websites I've looked at is somewhat insane considering they don't weigh much.

                                              Is Birri at the JTM? Elsewhere?

                                              Anyway, thanks!

                                            2. re: kdas

                                              Ferme du Zéphyr is selling organic Montreal melon seedlings for $3.25 each

                                              http://www.fermeduzephyr.ca/en/produc...

                                              > Is Birri at the JTM?

                                              Yes, Birri et Frères is a stand at the Jean-Talon market with lots of lovely things, including zucchini blossoms when in season.

                                              1. re: kpzoo

                                                I bought my first fresh local rocket (roquette/rucola/aragula) at Birri yesterday. Nice and peppery!

                                                1. re: kpzoo

                                                  Oh, awesome! That site is really cool. Thanks! I'll definitly have to hit Jean-Talon this weekend.

                                              2. Ema Viandes, the Caribbean butcher's at 7024 Casgrain (just opposite the market at the western end), is now doing grilled chicken legs for $2. They say they are "jerk" spicy, though while I find them very flavourful, the spicing is not that hot. The legs are not very big, but their chicken is good, so that is a great new option for something to eat while at the market.

                                                I haven't bought any strawberries yet. This must be remedied today! I like the small ones...

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  If you see this before you go, I'm curious to know what are the prices like for a case of strawbs at JTM? What about the organic stand? Thanks a bunch!

                                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                                    Will do, always a pleasure to check things out at the market. I never buy strawberries by the case, so will keep that in mind for you.

                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                      Much appreciated! This is mostly for jam-making purposes.

                                                      1. re: kpzoo

                                                        Maybe there are more strawberries this weekend, but earlier on in the week, they were still pretty expensive, and they weren't offering large flats of them yet. I migth wait a few more weeks. The strawberries aren't yet at the peak of their ripeness, they are flavourful but still a bit firm. I think you might get better deals and better jam-making fruit later in the season.

                                                        1. re: moh

                                                          Thanks so much, Moh - that's exactly what I was wondering, though I didn't express it. You read my mind. :-)

                                                          1. re: kpzoo

                                                            Indeed, they are expensive and I saw NO large flats anywhere. I bought some lovely flavourful tiny strawberries but they were $4 for 500ml (a smallish basket). The had litre baskets for $7 and the largest I saw were $14 for 3litres. I didn't mind the high price as I am going to hang out at a friend's patio sipping rosé and nibbling.

                                                            Yeah, still early for jam-making fruit.

                                                            I didn't see any at the organic stand and as there were a lot of people and I was burdened down by my granny cart with some soil, basil plants and 6 bottles of rosé (10% off at SAQ this weekend on all rosés - except champagne and mousseux) I didn't ask whether they had begun picking strawberries yet.

                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                              Thanks for the report! I shall try to be patient on the jam front. :-)

                                                2. Any idea if there are good producers for Iceberg lettuce @ Jean-Talon ?

                                                  Bio/organic would be preferable .

                                                  Thanks.

                                                  1. The organic strawberries have arrived at Jean-Talon, the ones I saw at the organic stand at the southeast corner of the "gourmet aisle" are $3.50 for a small basket.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                      Atkins/Les délices de la mer at JTM was selling cod fish cheeks and their first fresh scallops of the season. Having bought a whole bunch of cheeks, a nice surprise was awaiting me. Tongues mixed in the cheek bag. So I just seared the whole thing, deglazed with "fumet de poisson" (fish stock?) put some fresh rosemary from the garden in there, grilled asparagus, a handful of "lardons" and 35% cream. The tongues and cheeks went back in the pan for a couple of minutes to finish the cooking. The dish was topped with a couple of seared scallops and a rosemary sprig. The only missing ingredient was a splash of white wine. But since I was eating with my 3 year old son and my pregnant wife I omitted it. I was one of the best dishes I ever made. Very simple yet so tasteful and the play on textures was great.

                                                      So if you've never had cod fish cheeks or tongues, run!!! They are very worth it... and so are the scallops.

                                                    2. I would really appreciate it if someone reported here when they saw blueberries in chocolate.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        I am always looking....

                                                        So far, I have heard rumour of some chocolate covered blueberries from some of the fancier stores. But I am holding out for my beloved Pere Trappiste Lac st. Jean blueberries in chocolate. These usually appear in the beginning of August. I am hoping the season is not too delayed by the weather.

                                                        Of course I'll report when I see them. After I've bought my 10 boxes....

                                                        1. re: moh

                                                          Pere Trappiste chocolate blueberries are in at Hamel $8.99 per box! Dinner here I come....

                                                          1. re: moh

                                                            moh, how do you stay so svelte ?

                                                            I should try the Pere Trappiste version. The ones I bought a few weeks ago had sub-standard chocolate.

                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              The funny thing about Pere Trappiste blueberries, the chocolate isn't all that high end, yet for me it is still one of the better chocolate-covered blueberries around. For one thing, the blueberries are the yummy wild blueberries from Lac St. Jean and Saguenay. And the chocolate is just the right thickness and sweetness.

                                                              Re: svelte, Souschef, you are being too generous. I will never claim to be svelte. The only reason I am not completely unhealthy is I try to exercise enough to eat what I want. Some years I am more successful, others less.

                                                        2. re: souschef

                                                          They were selling some at Marché des saveurs today. I'm not sure if they were the Pères trappistes or not though.

                                                          And for another sighting, Nino was selling Ontario peaches today.

                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                            I picked up a small slab of them at the chocolate shop in the southeast corner, across the road from the bulk store and the Quebec products store. I've never had them before, but having read about them here, I had to give them a try! The berries appear to be wild and it makes an interesting combination with the chocolate. I think it was about $7 for a slab about the size of a regular chocolate bar. Yum

                                                          2. Atkins/Les délices de la mer has fried pieces of fresh halibut alongside its more usual cod and scallops.

                                                            Spotted tiny fine green beans. Still no field tomatoes.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                              I saw field tomatoes at a couple of stands today - smaller and not quite ripe. Maybe in a week or so there will be some worth buying...

                                                            2. If anyone ever see wild strawberries (fraises de bois), please report back here. I have always wanted to try them but always miss them.

                                                              I am also interested in blackcurrants if they are going cheap. I have a recipe for a killer dessert using them.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                It's way too late for wild strawberries now.

                                                              2. I am interested in Wild Blueberries. (No chocolate covering necessary.) Have you seen any??

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Daiya

                                                                  Yes. Their were selling some from Abitibi (the best ones in my opinion) at the stand facing Nino. Another stand at the opposit end was also selling wild blueberries in bigger quantities. I think it was the one facing the SAQ.

                                                                  1. re: Daiya

                                                                    The maple syrup guy at Finnegan's market in Hudson had wild blueberries this past weekend! He had raspberries too.

                                                                  2. Have wild strawberries ever been on offer at JTM or elsewhere? I read a blog about them growing in BC and I would love to try them. Do they even exist here?

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: hungryann

                                                                      Of course they exist here. I used to pick them in the field behind my house when I was a kid. AFAIK, if you want wild strawberries, you have to forage for them yourself.

                                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                        I once stopped at a strawberry stand somewhere near Lachute (I think) and asked about them. I was told that they had them earlier in the season.

                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                          Fraises des bois can be cultivated, too. I have friends in upstate NY who grow them. Many garden supply businesses sell the seeds. They don't lend themselves to large-scale commercial cultivation, however -- too ephemeral, too fragile, too short-(shelf-)lived and a royal PITA to harvest in quantity. But I have very occasionally seen them on local menus in fancy pants restos and once bought some at Jean Talon Market. That was years ago and I don't recall the vendor but Chez Louis, Chez Nino and Birri would be good places to start inquiring.

                                                                      2. Sour cherries are at Jean-Talon - it is a very short season. Run and get some! My hubbie made the most amazing sour cherry pie, a great flaky crust, and a marvelous sweet--sour filling. So much depth of flavour! I've been begging him to make me another one soon. I am officially a sour cherry convert, I totally understand their appeal now.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: moh

                                                                          Who exactly has sour cherries at the JTM ? Hopefully I can get some tomorrow .

                                                                          1. re: MrPernickety

                                                                            Chez Louis is the only place that had them on MOnday, and I bought some boxes, only leaving about 3 boxes. Unfortunately, I think the season is done. Chez Nino is out, and they said they won't get more. I hope you find them, but I fear you may not....

                                                                        2. At La Maison des Saveurs at JTM today I got some chocolate-covered blueberries. The blueberries were wonderful, but the chocolate was mediocre (especially since I tried them right after a visit to Le Maitre Chocolatier).

                                                                          At Chez Louis I saww some really meaty-looking shitake mushrooms. I am not quite used to them looking so meaty and having quite some heft. In retrospect, I should have bought some to try them out.

                                                                          I stopped at Havre Aux Glaces, hoping to try the fig ice cream mentioned here, but did not see any. They did have my favourite (chestnut), though....somewhat too early in the season.

                                                                          1. I'm a little sad this morning. My GF just told me that Chez Nino has been put up for sale, she saw the advertisement in Les Affaires (newspaper). If you're interested (as we can't afford it), it sells for $669,000.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Campofiorin

                                                                              Hopefully it doesn't change things, or disappear completely :o

                                                                              1. re: afoodyear

                                                                                I have been going to JTM for 8 years now and never had a problem with English, now most of the special and nice places like Pan D Or and Hamel, no one speaks English there.
                                                                                Havre \glace did not apear to be ice cream by the texture appearance.
                                                                                I did purchase some realy exotic mushrooms, some beautiful mini blue potatoes and some zuchini flowers, that are not available in NYC.
                                                                                Unfortunately | saw no fresh fish since the eyes were cloudy at both fish shops.
                                                                                I like the butchers at Atwarer better, since the meat is not hidden in vac packs.
                                                                                All in all the market produce was breathtaking to see as always.

                                                                                1. re: tombombadillo

                                                                                  «I like the butchers at Atwarer better, since the meat is not hidden in vac packs.»

                                                                                  There are several butchers at JTM that don't prepackage their meats. Fermes St-Vincent, La Boucherie du Marché, Capitol, all or nearly all the Maghrebian butchers and more. And while not a fan of cryovacing, I have to admit that Veau de Charlevoix's vacuum-packed veal cheeks are excellent and the best lamb I've had in several years was a prepackaged organic leg from Le Prince Noir.

                                                                            2. Looks like next weekend may be the last chance for local gourganes (fava beans). Spoke to a couple of farmers at the market on Sunday. One said it was the last weekend for him; the other said she'd have more next weekend but probably none after. The shelled beans freeze well and are somewhat easier to peel in a semi-defrosted state.

                                                                              Lots of cranberry beans, too. They'll probably be around for a few more weeks though.

                                                                              1. Anyone know if the kiosk that had baskets of beautiful (but quite ugly) heirloom tomatoes last year has started selling yet? I'm worried that all the rain has affected the tomato crops this year...

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: BrentMTL

                                                                                  The kiosk is not up yet. I also fear the rain will affect the tomato crop. Our roof top tomatoes are really taking a hit.

                                                                                2. Bought my first box of Royal figs at Chez Nino (so far the only source of these beauties). A bit expensive, $24 for a large flat, but frankly, worth every penny. They are sweet, luscious, juicy, jammy, really the most decadent figs you can get right now. I am stuffing them down my maw like a starving bear.

                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                                    Thanks for the info moh. I appreciate that you did not keep this a secret for only you to enjoy :-)

                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                      As long as there is a market for them, and they continue to sell them, we all win!

                                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                                        I picked up some Royal figs a couple of days ago. OMG! As I ate the first one, a newly-discovered phrase came to mind: "C'est un péché dans la bouche", i.e. It's a sin in the mouth.

                                                                                        I was amazed at how sweet and juicy they are. I am waffling between finishing them by eating them out of hand and using a few to make ice cream (the no-cook kind).

                                                                                        Thanks again moh.

                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                          The man at Chez Nino said they'd be there probably for another couple of weeks. I'm planning to preserve some in syrup, they are insanely delicious this way, great for spooning out over vanilla ice cream.

                                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                                            Like you said, they're so jammy you could spread them on toast. One way we used them is in a simple salad with Fanny's Bush lettuce (that's what they call it chez Birri!), some parmesan shavings, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tad of Fleur de sel and some pepper. Heaven, I tell you.

                                                                                            A word about that Fanny's Bush. It seems to be a cross between iceberg and leefy green lettuce. Nice and crispy like the iceberg but tasty like the other one. I true find.

                                                                                            1. re: Campofiorin

                                                                                              Thanks for the head's up about Fanny's bush lettuce Campofiorin! I shall look for it. Birri has such a fabulous selection of greens. I love that stall.

                                                                                              We do a similar salad as yours with figs, except we use arugula instead of lettuce. Figs and arugula are so fabulous! Quarter the figs, then toss arugula with really good extra-virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, salt, pepper and the figs. Parmesan for even more decadence. it is one of my favorite salads.

                                                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                                                moh, have you tried the salad with balsamic vinegar instead of lemon? Or is the sweetness of the balsamic overkill with the sweetness of the figs?

                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                  I haven't tried this salad with balsamic, but I have split these figs in half, put a piece of goat's cheese on top, and sprinkled with balsamic, and then roasted the figs for a few minutes to get it all hot a juicy and bubbling, and that was yummy! So I don't think it would be a problem to mix balsamic and the figs. In fact it sounds great! Balsamic is just great on so many things.

                                                                                                2. re: moh

                                                                                                  Figs and arugula (rocket, roquette, rucola) are a classic, as arugula is bitter, and a nice contrast with the sweet gooey figs. Yes, little curls of parmesan.

                                                                                              2. re: moh

                                                                                                Hi Moh, could you direct me to instructions on how to go about preserving them? Thanks!

                                                                                                1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                                  Mainsqueeze, I just use the Fig Preserves recipe from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving on page 63. It is simple, and when you use the Royal figs, it is visually stunning and very delicious. If you don't have this book, let me know, and I can paraphrase the recipe for you. You can also email me if you want, and I can send it to you.

                                                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                                                    Thank you. If the process requires a canner, I won't be able to do it, unfortunately. But otherwise I'd love to get the recipe.

                                                                                                    1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                                      Mainsqueeze, I have posted the recipe on the Home Cooking Board in this thread:

                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/648435

                                                                                                      You can use a canner, but I just use a big pot and a shallow rack, and it works fine. The recipe is a little fussy, but it was my favorite effort from last year by far. I am going to do another batch this year very soon.

                                                                                                        1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                                          No problem! But sadly, I went to pick up the royal figs today, and they are done for the season. I will have to use different figs for my preserves.... :(

                                                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                                                            Ack! I feel terrible...I guess I must have snagged one of the last flats yesterday morning ($20 - I guess the price has gone down??). They are wonderful, but now I feel like I've deprived you of one of your favourite treats! I don't have enough for you to do your preserves recipe but I could spare some if you'd like them just for snacking, etc. Let me know. I'm eternally grateful to you for introducing me to them! By the way, I tried a recipe from The Amateur Gourmet for baking them with honey, vanilla and orange juice - really yummy on yogurt.

                                                                                                            1. re: stak

                                                                                                              I paid $20 a week ago. Wish I had listened to my wife and bought more than one case :(

                                                                                                              1. re: stak

                                                                                                                Stak, such a kind offer! But no fear, I still had a few from last week, so I am not completely deprived. CHers are such kind generous folk! Where else would people offer to share their stash?

                                                                                                                I'm glad you have some, they are marvelous things. And as I said before, we need to make sure they keep bringing them in each year! Selling out is surely the best way to ensure this.

                                                                                                                I have made the fig preserves with some of the black figs, it should be just fine.

                                                                                                                Don't know if you have seen this thread on the Home Cooking Board:

                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532623

                                                                                                                lots of great ideas for figs...

                                                                                        2. Anyone know when Heirloom Tomatoes are in season? I can't wait to eat them!

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Dusty08

                                                                                            I saw some there the other day. The stall is next to the Premiere Moison building, next to the people who have the strings of drying chiles. They have the large coeur de boeuf tomatoes in 3 shades (red, yellow, orange), the ones that look like small red and yellow bell peppers, the orange ones, the yellow plum like ones, and some green sausage shaped ones they call green Italian zebras, to name a few varieties. We just picked them up, I haven't had a chance to eat them straight, will do so tonight. I hope they are ok, but I am a bit worried about the season this year. I'll post once we've made our heirloom tomato salad, this is the best way to judge how they are.

                                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                                              Bad news. The tomatoes I bought are watery, tasteless, mushy. This was one of the worst tomato salads I have ever had. I don't think I'll be buying a lot of tomatoes this year, it seems like it is a bad year. Sigh.

                                                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                                                Terrible year. My CSA tomatoes are mushy and I have had to use them right away if not discard a couple if not more on the first day. The only saving grace is that the cherry tomatoes are OK IMO.

                                                                                                1. re: foodie_mtl

                                                                                                  Yes, I have had the same experience, the cherry tomatoes are ok. Bought some at Birri that were really lovely.

                                                                                                  We've been making a lot of gazpacho, the mushiness of the tomato is less noticeable in this soup. And you can make up for flavour by adding more cucumber and pepper, lots of nice sherry vinegar, garlic and good olive oil. I am sad about the salads though.

                                                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                                                    I bought some tasty San Marzano type tomatoes at the organic stand farthest south, though if I don't use them quickly even those get mushier than usual.

                                                                                                    I dislike cherry tomatoes.