fiddleheads, one of the many signs new englanders look for, signaling spring is officially here and summer's on its way. a fiddlehead, for those of you who have no idea what i am referring too, is a unfurled baby ostrich fern. when soaked, and lightly cooked they are amazing and the time to enjoy fiddleheads, sadly only lasts a few short weeks.
this past week fiddleheads popped up at one of my favorite places - picnic rock farm; they are officially open for the season! i helped myself to a big bag of fiddleheads & a heady bulb of garlic.
fiddleheads are best enjoyed with only a few enhancements, my personal favorite - lemon, garlic and crushed red pepper with a pinch of salt. a little butter and olive give the sauce body. tossed with quinoa pasta is the making of a wonderful, fresh, locally foraged meal.
the prep of the fiddleheads is absolutely crucial - not blanched long enough, leads to a bitter fiddlehead. sauteed to long and you end up with a mealy fiddlehead.
treat your fiddleheads with love and patience and in turn they will give you the flavors of spring all in one amazing complex bite.
fiddleheads should be soaked in a bowl of water, stirred around a bit - loosening any dirt that may be hiding between the fronds. soak much like you would leafy greens, by filling a big bowl of water and allowing the dirt to settle to the bottom. before adding the rinsed fiddleheads make sure to trim away any brown spots. the fiddleheads are blanched in boiling water, then submerged in a cold water bathe.
the blanched fiddleheads are sauteed with a good amount of fresh garlic, olive oil, vegan butter and crushed red pepper. towards the very end a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is added with a healthy dose of salt brightening and melding all the flavors.
the prepared fiddleheads are tossed with pasta - in this case, quinoa pasta
lemon zest is added to the final dish - for a bit more heat sprinkle a pinch of crushed red pepper over the top. for me this is the best way to enjoy springtime fiddleheads. there is something so special about enjoying a dish made from locally foraged greens - or rather baby ferns.
a welcome sign of spring, fiddleheads are the gateway of local goodness leading us into summer.
if you don't have access to fiddleheads, asparagus would be a very nice substitute.
serves 2 (easily doubled)
you will need:
2 cups fiddleheads, trimmed of any brown spots
2 large cloves of garlic - diced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tsp olive oil
fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
4oz quinoa pasta
2 tbsp pasta water
zest of 1 lemon
trim any brown spots from the fiddleheads, fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge fiddle heads, swirling the fiddleheads around a bit. allow fiddleheads to soak for about 10 minutes.
in a medium sauce pan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil - add fiddleheads (carefully transferring from soaking bath to avoid stirring up the sentiment at the bottom of the bowl) boil for 5 minutes. while fiddleheads are boiling, rinse out the soaking bowl, fill with cold water and add 5 ice cubes. with a slotted spoon transfer the blanched fiddleheads to the ice water bathe.
The fiddlehead water in the sauce pan will be brownish black, change water out and bring to a boil for pasta. cook pasta according to directions.
in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat melt vegan butter and olive oil - add fiddleheads, garlic and crushed red pepper. saute for 3-5 minutes, testing taste and texture about halfway through cooking. at the half way point add fresh lemon juice.
add the cooked pasta to the saute pan with 2tbsp pasta water tossing to coat pasta with the fiddlheads.
plate & sprinkle with a generous amount of good coarse salt, lemon zest and crushed red pepper.
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and let us not forget the Versatile Blogger Award!
My good friend Willow over at "Will Cook for Friends" has passed along this great award. Willow's & her Blog are both amazing. I have loved getting to know her over the past 6 or so months and I encourage you, if you haven't already to go and check out her super blog.
The rules for accepting the award are as follows:
1. Thank those who nominated you (thank you!)
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3. Select 5, 10, or 15 bloggers or blogs you recently discovered, or are a long-time follower of, to pass the award to
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