Friday, May 9, 2014


One of my favorite things this time of year are fiddleheads! If you do not know about fiddleheads, get thee to a market in early May and pick up some of these tasty greens. You can thank me later.

Fiddleheads are the little shoots of certain kinds of ferns. They are harvested in the wild, and are only available for a couple of weeks each spring. The exact time varies each season. You may see them as early as late April, but rarely will you see them beyond mid-May. I think their fleeting availability is one of the things that makes them so appealing. Finding them in the store is like finding a treasure. Their flavor is very unique, and hard to describe. Some people say that they taste a bit like asparagus, but I don't think that's entirely accurate. Fiddleheads really have a taste all their own. To me, they just taste like spring... earthy, green, delicious.

Fiddleheads, all washed, just waiting to
be trimmed, blanched and sauteed.
There are a few important things to know about preparing fiddleheads. First of all, thorough washing is essential. Because they grow on the forest floor, they get pretty dirty. I clean them by swishing them in a bowl of water, which I drain and refill several times, until the water isn't dirty anymore.
It's also important to cook fiddleheads. You shouldn't eat them raw, as they can contain some microbes which you need to cook to get rid of.  There are several ways to cook them. You can simply boil or steam them, but I think they taste best when blanched briefly, then sauteed in olive oil with lots of minced garlic and a little sea salt.

I bought my first batch of fiddleheads of the season yesterday morning. I was so excited about them that I couldn't even wait until dinner. I ended up cooking them up for lunch instead! I'm hoping to get another batch this weekend. If I manage to score some more, I have a tasty surprise in store for this week's homemade pizza. ;)
Fiddleheads, sauteing in olive oil with lots of minced garlic.

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