30 May 2008

recipe: fiddlehead ferns two ways

So I did it. I overcame my unnecessary anxiety of fiddlehead ferns. I conquered it by cleaning, cooking, and eating them. Two ways.

These Northeastern treats are the shoots of the ostrich fern, and need to be cooked or marinated overnight to be safe for eating. Their season is only a couple of weeks and very nearly over by now, but because their taste and texture is most closely akin to asparagus, these recipes would go nicely with that as well!

After going though my bag of ferns, discarding ones that were unseemly, trimming the ends, and removing any of the brown papery chaff from the outside, I gave them a water bath with two changes of water, and boiled them for about 5 minutes, until they were tender, drained them, and then made this:

Recipe: Fiddlehead Ferns in Warm Lemon-Garlic-Dijon Dressing

2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pint fiddlehead ferns, cooked
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil until warmed through and well mixed. Turn off the heat.

2. Toss in the fiddlehead ferns to coat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or allow to cool and eat cold or room temperature.

I ate this alongside some brown rice pasta with red sauce. Yum!

Recipe: Fiddlehead Ferns with Ginger, Sesame, and Shoyu

1 teaspoon organic canola or extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
pinch red chili flakes (optional)
5 thinly sliced rounds of ginger, or 1 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 pint fiddlehead ferns, cooked
1 tablespoon shoyu or tamari
1 teaspoon black or white sesame seeds

1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, warm the two oils, chili flakes (if using), and ginger. Add in the ferns and the shoyu. Mix until heated through. Remove from heat and toss in the sesame seeds. Serve immediately or allow to cool and enjoy in a salad.

The consensus? Well, they're good. Maybe more interesting to look at than to eat. They're not life-changing, certainly, but I think for me, it became more about just doing it. Less thinking, more doing, right?

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