Ontario Vegetable Recipes: Fiddleheads, Radishes and Tomatoes

Brighten Up Your Table With Fresh Ontario Vegetables

by Carole Nelson Brown

These three vegetables just scream Ontario —but what do you do with them? Roast them, fry them and make pesto, that’s what!




Crispy Fiddleheads with Ramp Pesto

Serves about 4 people


2 scant cups fiddleheads, washed and dried

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko

1/4 cup red lentil flour*

1/2 tsp kosher salt

A few grinds of black pepper

*I use the lentil flour to add some protein and I like the nutty flavor, but if you don’t want to make it, just increase your breadcrumbs or panko to 3/4 cup.




Red Lentil Flour Directions:

Stirring with a wooden spoon, toast 1/2 cup of split red lentils in a dry pan over medium heat for about two minutes, until they become fragrant and you start seeing a few browned lentils. Stir often to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. In a spice grinder, a coffee grinder,
or mini food processor, grind the lentils until they are quite fine and resemble flour. Set aside.

Fiddlehead Directions:

Wash your fiddleheads really well. I like to start by putting them in a brown paper bag and giving them a really vigorous shake. Reach in and remove the fiddleheads gently, leaving all of the stuff that falls off them behind in the bag. Then, soak and rinse three or four times or until the water is clear of debris. You don’t have to dry them since you are tossing them in the egg.

Beat two eggs in a shallow bowl, adding a little pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Set aside. Mix the breadcrumbs, red lentil flour, kosher salt and pepper in another shallow bowl. Preheat the oven to 400°F and oil a baking rack that you will set on top of a baking sheet. Dip the fiddleheads into the egg, then toss them in the crumbs and set them on the rack until all of the fiddleheads are coated. Bake for about 12 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Ramp Pesto


1 bunch wild leeks or ramps

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Rind from 1 preserved lemon

Garlic mustard flowers for garnish


Wash the ramps really well to remove all traces of dirt, remove the roots and roughly chop. Put chopped ramps in the bowl of a food processor with the pumpkin seeds, almonds, parmesan and the preserved lemon. Pulse until finely ground before you start streaming in the olive oil with the motor running. You will use between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of oil, depending on how thick you want your pesto. Taste your pesto, then and add salt and pepper as desired, starting with 1/4 tsp of
salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.

Peller Estates


2017 Peller Estates

Private Reserve

Sauvignon Blanc

Roasted Radishes & Fingerling Potatoes in Tomato Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8 as a side dish


1 680g (1.5lb) bag fingerling potatoes

1 red onion, cut in large chunks

1 bunch radishes

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Pinch kosher salt

1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, grated

About 2 tbsp chopped basil

About 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Halve the fingerling potatoes and the radishes and throw them in a bowl along with the red onion. Toss with the olive oil and a good pinch kosher salt. Spread the vegetables out on a big baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds, using your fingers to make sure you get them all. Grate the tomato on a large-holed grater right down to the skin. The skin will protect your fingers and won’t grate so it’s easier than you think. Put the tomato pulp in a bowl and throw in a pinch of kosher salt, garlic and the vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil and taste and add more
salt if needed.

Put the potatoes, radish and onion in a bowl and add the tomato vinaigrette, give it a thorough toss and let it sit for at least an hour—and up to four or five hours—before serving.

If you are using within an hour or so, leave out, covered with a cloth, at room temperature. If you’re not using it until much later, you can keep the salad in the fridge but take it out 30 minutes before serving so it can come back to room temperature.

Peller Estates


2017 Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir


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