Posts Tagged ‘fiddleheads’

            Last Monday as I was sitting in my every morning window seat at JOE, our favorite coffee bar, I saw two of my favorite dogs approach – Milly and Zach.  Milly always sets up a howl waiting for me to come out and give her some morning lovin’ while her owner, Stuart, gets his latte.  This morning Stuart came toting a shopping bag along with the dogs.  And, what should be in that bag but a taste of spring –fiddleheads, asparagus, and ramps straight from the farmer’s market near his country house.  When we opened the bag the smell of damp earth and verdant greenery almost – but not quite – overcame the heady coffee aromas.  But, when I got home my kitchen smelled just like the woods.  You know what was on our dinner menu – here it is – a quick sauté in extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper – the veggies needed nothing more – so green, so crisp, so spring.


Read Full Post »

I will admit that I didn’t participate in the fiddlehead harvest this year.  Lynn went out by her lonesome and came back with just enough for dinner which was my duty.  For years I was a little iffy about fiddleheads – the tightly curled, unopened frond of the ostrich fern – as I found them too astringent and slightly bitter for my palate.  Plus I kept remembering a warning about them carrying toxins some years ago (which turned out to be a false one.)

However, time and tides change as does my taste and I have become a devotee.  As much as we all love them, we only have them a couple of times in the spring as we don’t want to come up empty in the years ahead. You can only cut 3 of the 7 scrolls in the very early spring when the plant is near to the ground and completely unfurled.  More and you will have killed the plant.  And, much like ramps, throughout the Northeast, over-harvesting is taking its toll.

Once cut, all you have to do is rinse them well and carefully brush off any dried brown skin.  They will stay quite fresh in the fridge for a couple of days.  Although I have seen them frozen, I wouldn’t suggest using them.  You want the fresh spring taste and crisp texture of those that are straight from the woods.

I think that I like them more now that I have learned to cook them carefully.  Old recipes suggest boiling or steaming for 10 to 15 minutes, but I simply sauté them for about 7 minutes in clarified butter and the give a finish of a squeeze of fresh lemon and sprinkle of sea salt.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: