Every Saturday I like to spend part of my morning at the Halifax Seaport Market. It’s bustling, there’s music, crafts and samples, and it’s interesting to grab a good coffee and sit quietly reading my book in the middle of the madness. However, the main reason I go is for the produce, fresh baked goods and homemade food. I feel great when I make dinner at home and know that half of the ingredients came from somewhere nearby.
We are lucky in Nova Scotia to have such an abundance of great local food throughout the year, specifically in the summer. In the spring I start seeing less and less root vegetables, which albeit are great, but after a long winter I get a little tired of sweet potatoes. Brighter greens and a rainbow of colours start appearing and I get so excited I usually buy too many vegetables. Later in the summer we’re lucky to have so many vegetables and berries that you can eat to your heart’s content and even preserve them for the winter, if you’re so inclined.
There’s even a club that starts up every September called the 50% Local Food Club, which aims to increase consumption and purchasing of local foods in the province. The idea is for people to make sure 50% of their food for the month is produced locally, which encourages the appreciation for local food, supports local farmers and builds community. I participated last year and I’m not really sure exactly what percentage of my food was local, but I know it was a lot, because I was part of this club and community now and I wanted to succeed. Also it’s really easy here! It doesn’t require any commitment other than the pledge to eat 50% local food but you feel a fun, inspiring pressure to make sure you keep up your pledge. You can find the website here to sign up, learn more about it and get inspired!
A pledge like this is great because it allows you to figure out how to cook with produce in a way you might not have before. I find enjoyment in discovering recipes that use local ingredients and am always so proud when they turn out well. The other day I made a roasted potato salad that was a huge hit, so I figured I would share this recipe for others who want to impress either themselves or someone else with a delicious, local dish.
Roasted Potato Salad with Asparagus and Fiddleheads
(Also called a Roasted Root Vegetable, Perennial and Fern Salad if you want to feel really fancy and slightly pretentious) I didn’t truly measure any of the ingredients so the amounts are up to personal preference
- Small potatoes washed and cut into 1 inch cubes (from the market)
- Asparagus, chopped into large chunks (from the market)
- Fiddleheads, washed very well in a few rounds of water (from the market)
- Green garlic, which is the shoot of immature bulbs (from a neighbour of the garden)
- I used part of the small bulb and the lower parts of the green stem. The top leaves may be too tough to use. You can substitute regular garlic if needed.
- Celery, chopped into small pieces (from the market)
- Heaping tablespoon or so of Dijon mustard
- A few glugs of avocado or olive oil
- Splash of red wine vinegar
- Splash of lemon juice
- Small tablespoon of mayonnaise (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425° F. Spread the potato cubes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes. With 12 minutes left add the asparagus to the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. The potatoes will be nice and crispy on the outside and the asparagus will be nicely roasted.
- In the meantime, wash the fiddleheads thoroughly. Put them in a bowl of water and wash. Re-wash/rinse with a few more rounds of clean water. Add them to a pot of boiling water and cook until done, about 7-10 minutes. ***Fiddleheads cannot be eaten raw, as they contain a toxin that will make you ill. Make sure they are cooked***
- Add the cooked fiddleheads, roasted potato, roasted asparagus, celery and garlic to a large bowl.
- Whisk together the mustard, oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mayonnaise (if using), salt and pepper. Add to the salad and toss.
- Sprinkle with parsley. Ideally fresh, but I used dried and it worked fine.
This can be served warm or cold. The recipe was adapted from Oh She Glows.
I hope this has inspired you to buy locally, make something delicious and appreciate the food we have in Nova Scotia. Check out a previous blog post on foraging if you want to be as local as you can be.
~Mackenzie Childs – Programming Coordinator