Friday, April 25, 2008

Hooray! Fiddleheads

After two weeks of fast foods (*yuck)due to this endless move.. my kitchen is finally getting back to order and after many months of serving root vegetables, the spring fiddlehead is a welcomed change and absolutely delicious! As May Day is my birthday, I decided to celebrate with an early birthday present to myself :o).. a big bowl of steamed & sauteed fiddleheads with fresh lemon & butter.

One of the finest spring greens and New England delicacy. Fiddleheads are the curled up wild shoots of the ostrich fern, resembling the head of a violin and flavour similar to asparagus & almonds. They are harvested in northern Maine, usually in early spring for two to three weeks. They are rich in Vit C & are extremely tasty... and a true sign that spring is really here. I like them because they are low in sodium yet high in potassium, so are a good source of fibre and appropriate for low salt diets. When fresh are not available, they are available frozen... but yucky to me LOL You can add them to any dish that requires vegetables...
in soups, stews, quiche, over linguini, salads and omelettes or simply steam and top with butter & lemon, hollandaise or vinaigrette. I really enjoy adding some grated kohlrabi to my fiddlehead dishes.

I like to make pasta primavera w/ fiddleheads..or fiddlehead quiche or fiddlehead lemon/rice soup.. or just sautee them in olive, shallots, baby bella mushrooms & merlot we just love' em around here as much as fresh asparagus!

I belong to a cooking group & monthly we go around to members homes for dinners. This month is my turn, a Spring theme.. so I am making stuffed flounder with sauteed fiddleheads/asapragus & baby carrots with crumbs.. rolled up the fish filets.. & tied with scallions..yum!

Here are a couple of my favorite fiddlehead recipes. Enjoy!

Sauteed Fiddleheads

1 pound fiddleheads, rinsed well and brown ends cut off
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Juice of a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Mushrooms - opt
Broccoli - opt

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat.

Blanch the fiddleheads (cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes). This really brings out the green and leeches out the bitterness. Scoop out fiddleheads, using a slotted spoon and put them in the bowl cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Now heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so. Add fiddleheads and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss.

Fiddlehead Pasta Primavera

1 pound fiddleheads
1 pound asparagus cut in 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup butter & 1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced fine
2-4 minced shallots
cherry or roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 can chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Rosemary, thyme, salt & ground pepper to taste

Blanche the cleaned, picked-over fiddleheads in a large pot of water for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under coldwater. Heat the butter in a skillet and saute cut asparagus ( until just tender), garlic, shallots until aromatic but not browned. Add fiddleheads, cherry tomatoes & 1/2 can chicken broth and saute another 1 to 2minutes. Season with lemon juice , and serve immediately over linguini or angelhair pasta.

Down East Fiddlehead Souffle

3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lb fiddleheads- par boiled & drained well
2 tablespoons buttered bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 F. Make a white sauce (melt butter with flour and
slowly stir in milk), then beat in egg yolks one at a time. Add grated cheese,
3/4 teaspoon of salt~ and set aside. Beat the egg whites and add cream of
tartar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add Worcestershire sauce. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in warm fiddleheads and place mixture in a lightly greased 6-cup mold or souffle dish. Top with buttered bread crumbs and bake 25 to 30 minutes.

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