Apr 9, 2010

Fiddleheads are the oyster fern’s


Fiddleheads are the oyster fern’s tightly-curled young fronds that are picked early in the spring, before they open and become toxic. They are called fiddleheads because of their fiddle-like shape. They are also sometimes referred to as corkscrew greens.

North American Indians were eating fiddleheads long before the arrival of the first Europeans. The Australian and New Zealand aborigines and the Japanese are very fond of fiddleheads.
Fiddleheads are picked when they are still tightly curled and do not exceed 15 centimetres. Depending on the region, fiddleheads are picked between mid-April and July. Once they have opened, they are no longer edible
Culinary tips and advices
  • Choose firm, bright-green, tightly-curled fiddleheads with their little brown shells still intact.
  • Eat only the curled head and a small portion of the green stem.
  • To prepare fiddleheads, shake vigorously in a plastic bag to remove any brown scales, then wash thoroughly, changing the water several times.
  • Fiddleheads should always be cooked but can be eaten hot or cold (do not eat them raw).
  • Cook for 10 to 12 minutes by boiling or steaming, followed by pan-frying.
  • They are delicious served with a vinaigrette, a pat of butter or coated with a sauce.
  • They can be served as a side-dish or added to salads, omelettes, pasta dishes or soups.

Availability

Fresh fiddleheads are only available for a few weeks in the spring during the harvest. You will find them at the produce counter of your local METRO supermarket.


Nutritional Value

Fiddleheads are an excellent source of potassium and also contain vitamin C, niacin and iron.


Storage Life

Fiddleheads are very fragile and highly perishable. Wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag, they will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Fiddleheads are easy to freeze. Simply blanch for one or two minutes, plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process, and freeze in an air-tight container or freezer bag.


Fiddlehead Cashew Stirfry

Submitted by Violinist Rhiannon Schmitt, Salmon Arm, BC, Canada

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh or frozen fiddleheads
1 cup snow peas
1 cup diced carrots (coins)
1 cup fresh beansprouts
1/2 cup chopped brown mushrooms
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp butter or oil (butter is richer)
1 tsp fresh ground ginger root
Garlic & Tamari soy sauce to taste
Wash and prepare the fiddleheads by removing the fuzzy fronds and cutting off any dry ends. Prepare other vegetables and ginger. Preheat butter or oil in wok or sautee pan, medium heat. Stir-fry the fiddleheads for 10-12 minutes (longer for frozen) until the fiddleheads take on a vibrant green shade and are soft (fully cooked, not crunchy!).
Cook longer if the fiddleheads are at all crunchy. Add carrots, peas, mushrooms, cashews, ginger garlic and soy sauce. Add beansprouts last. Cook another 1-2 minutes until all veggies are cooked but not too soft. Serve with rice or fine rice stick noodles and classical violin music.

Fettuccini with Fiddleheads and Bocconcini

Preparation: 10 min
Marinating/Waiting: 0 min
Cooking: 15 min
Total: 25 min
2
servings

Recipe ingredients

  • Butter
  • 2 oz. (60 g) pancetta, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) chicken broth*
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices Canadian Bocconcini cheese
  • 1/2-3/4 cup (125-180 mL) fresh fiddleheads, cooked
  • 2 servings of fresh fettuccini pasta, cooked 2 to 3 minutes (or if dry pasta, cooked al dente)

Preparation

Sauté pancetta and onion in butter. Add sage, lemon juice, chicken stock and olive oil.  Reduce until slightly thickened.

Add fiddleheads and heat through. Add pasta and coat with sauce. Add Canadian Bocconcini when ready to serve and accompany with a good wine.

Suggestion

Try this recipe with Canadian Mozzarella or Friulano cheese.

Choose firm, bright-green, tightly-curled fiddleheads with their little brown shells still intact
Eat only the curled head and a small portion of the green stem.
Fiddleheads should always be cooked but can be eaten hot or cold (never raw).
They are delicious served with a vinaigrette, a pat of butter or coated with a sauce.
Fiddleheads are very fragile and highly perishable. Wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag, they will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two.

No comments:

Post a Comment