Spring officially marks the short season of fiddleheads. Since it looks like we’re going straight from winter to summer in my pocket of Canada, I figure I better get to this post quickly. You can find these delightful little ferns in some grocery stores and most farmers’ markets until the end of May.
So what’s the deal with fiddleheads?
Fiddleheads are young, edible, fern shoots that are gathered when they are still curled. These greens are nutritious – high in vitamin A, vitamin C & iron and are a good source of potassium. They are also low in calories, fat and cholesterol. No other vegetable matches the exquisite form and delicious flavor of fresh fiddleheads. Some describe it as a cross between asparagus, mushroom and broccoli.
Fiddlehead preparation is easy but requires a little more prep than something like asparagus or brocolli. With a brush, carefully remove brown scales then wash well under cold running water to remove dirt before cooking; trim woody stems. Boil fiddleheads in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes (or steam for 20 minutes.) Serve at once with a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.
Note: some cooks insist on adding a tablespoon of vinegar to boiling water to remove and starchy taste on the outer skin.
Cooked fiddleheads can also be used like blanched or steamed asparagus in pasta, quiches or omelettes. They also make rockin’ salads when tossed with diced tomatoes and lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
Fiddleheads freeze well and, due to their short season, many people like to put some away for later use. To freeze, remove scales and wash thoroughly then boil in a small amount of water at a time for 2 minutes. Drain and let cool. Pack in freezer bags and store up to one year.
Note: Health Canada advises that fiddleheads should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Consuming raw or undercooked fiddleheads may cause diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.
Creamy Fiddlehead and Carrot Pasta
Original recipe courtesy Canadian Living.com
This recipe makes 4 servings
- 3 carrots
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups fiddleheads, well washed
- 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
- Cut carrots into strips 2 x 1/2 inch.
- In large heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots; sprinkle with chervil and sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, tossing to glaze carrots, for 3 minutes. Add water, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost tender.
- Meanwhile, in saucepan of boiling water, cook fiddleheads for 15 minutes. Drain well.
- Boil your water for pasta. Cook, drain and set aside.
- Uncover carrots, increase heat to medium-high and cook until water evaporates. Add cream and cook until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes; stir in fiddleheads and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add cooked pasta to cream and veg mixture. Toss and serve.
Enjoy! xoAdd to favorites