February 22-26, 2021: Your Montreal-Inspired Weekly Menu

A few years back, Ricardo and a couple of Test Kitchen staffers went on a restaurant crawl all along Montreal’s iconic Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a.k.a. The Main. They started in Old Montreal, strolled through Chinatown and finished up the day in Little Italy. With restaurants across the city (and the province and country) currently closed due to COVID-19, we felt like reminiscing about a few of our favourite haunts. For this week’s menu, check out the handful of dishes our chefs later created, inspired by their food adventure.

Monday: Tofu and Mushroom Dumplings

Potstickers: They are a staple of many restaurants in Montreal’s Chinatown. The bustling, colourful neighbourhood houses many jiaozi joints (everyone has a favourite!) and our plump tofu and mushroom dumplings pay tribute to an area truly hit hard at the start of the pandemic. Our recipe tastes wonderful on its own with steamed veggies, or as a side dish with sweet Chinese barbecue pork. (And if making these at home seems too daunting, we highly recommend ordering out and supporting a local business instead.)

Tuesday: Smoked Meat Banh Mi Sandwich

Smoked meat (particularly from Main mainstay Schwartz’s) is a must-try sandwich in Montreal. It stars the classic deli meat made of cured/smoked/steamed beef brisket, which is then served on rye bread with mustard. But it’s not the only tasty sandwich in town! Closer to Chinatown, you can find delicious Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, like the ones served at Hoang Oanh, a family-run sandwicherie that’s been doing it right for over 30 years! This fusion recipe is our homage to the two restaurants.

Wednesday: Shrimp and Grits

This dish was inspired by Dinette Triple Crown, a popular joint in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood that specializes in foods of the American South (think fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits and hushpuppies). Shrimp and grits is another classic U.S. dish, consisting of a flavourful shrimp stew served on top of creamy boiled cornmeal with a porridge-like consistency. It’s hearty and absolutely cozy!

Thursday: Portuguese-Style Chicken Wings

When entering the city’s Little Portugal neighbourhood, you can’t not stop in somewhere for some delicious Portuguese chicken. Covered in a piri piri pepper-based sauce and then spit-roasted, this spicy chicken with a side of potatoes is a meal that can’t be rivaled. We gave the dish a finger-food twist by tossing cooked chicken wings in a tangy, peppery sauce. It’s a perfect game-day eat or a fun bite during movie night.

Friday: Leeks with Smoked Mussel Dressing

In Montreal’s trendy Mile End sits Larrys, a European-inspired restaurant with an all-day menu. Café by day and wine bar by night, pre-pandemic it was a great place to enjoy a light meal with a glass of red or white wine. (For now, takeout and delivery will have to do.) As a tribute to the resto’s small plates, our Test Kitchen was inspired to create this French-style leeks in vinaigrette. A can of mussels is this dish’s best friend, adding smokiness to the acid-rich recipe.

Dessert: Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwiches

Little Italy: It is the perfect place to pick up a pizza, grab an espresso on the go, shop for specialty groceries or nibble on something sweet. In the latter category, while the likes of cannoli, tartufo and tiramisu are can’t-miss, we have a soft spot for fluffy bombolone, an Italian doughnut filled with Nutella and pastry cream. Our homage takes this pastry and turns it into a cold treat, sandwiching whipped cream, sorbet and ice cream inside a halved doughnut.