Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spring Fiddleheads

Fiddlehead ferns are a sure sign that spring has arrived.  These, tender tightly furled new-growth shoots of the fern family plant, grow wild in the Northeast.  The fern is a clump forming (like an ostrich plume), seasonal plant, which typically grows in well-drained, moisture rich under shady environments.
Their harvesting season is very short and should be done before the fronds unfurl.

Nutritionally 100 grams of ferns contains 120%  Daily Allowance of Vitamin A and is very rich in Vitamin C. 

I tend to prepare them quite simply, being careful not to mask its delicate flavor.  If I had to describe the taste, I would say that it was somewhere between an asparagus and a green bean with the slight texture  purslane.   
If that sound a bit confusing, I recommend just buying it and trying it.  This is how I prepared it.  And  Oh….by the way… They are not cheap.  I paid  $8 for 8 ounces which is two servings. 


8oz Fiddleheads
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Fried shallot (optional)

Bring a medium size pot of boiling water and salt to a boil in order to blanch the fiddleheads ( the water should taste salty like the sea)
Cut off the brownish tip on the ferns
Prepare a boil of ice water to shock the ferns after they come out of the boiling water
Add ferns to boiling water
Let boil for about 3 minutes
Shock in ice water
Preheat a medium sauté pan with olive oil
Drain the ferns and add to the hot pan
Sautee for about 5 minutes more, then add butter.
Sautee for 2 minutes more or until ferns are tender but not mushy
I garnished with fried shallots but they are just as tasty on there own
Serve immediately.

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