Fiddleheads

I love this early sign of spring – the arrival of fiddleheads.  This wild delicacy is the delicate furls of the Ostrich Fern found in Eastern Canada.  If the fiddleheads are not cut they unwind out to the full fern.

The ferns are found in moist areas, along river banks and woodlands. But for those of us who don’t pick our own, we find them in the farmer’s markets and sometimes even in the supermarket.  If you are foraging on your own, be sure to identify the correct fern as other varieties may be poisonous.  Also, it is recommended that you only cut half of the fiddleheads in the area so that the fern population will continue to thrive.

Fiddlehead s are delicious and their distinctive shape adds a unique visual appeal to a meal.

Preparation

Wash the fiddleheads well in several changes of water to remove all the brown papery covering of the fronds.   The water will run clear and the fiddleheads will be a bright green when cleaned.  Snip off the end of the stem that may be brownish.  Then drop the fiddleheads into a pot of boiling water and boil for 7-10 minutes.  Remove from the water and throw out the water. Don’t keep it for soup as it is bitter and has removed tannin from the fiddleheads.  Then use the fiddleheads in a variety of recipes.

Recipes

1 – Saute the fiddleheads in butter or olive oil with onion and garlic.

2 – Saute the fiddleheads with butter or olive oil, onion and garlic, and mushrooms.  Add pesto sauce and serve over noodles.  Optionally add salmon chunks.

3 – Fiddlehead quiche

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