Cuisine en Locale Fiddles with Fiddleheads
I tasted my first fiddlehead of the season on Monday as the CeL chefs were preparing the ONCE a Week shares. It had the earthiness of a mushroom with the texture of an asparagus. Fiddleheads are the unopened fronds of fern plants that are harvested in early spring and eaten as a cooked vegetable (don’t eat them raw, they can make you quite sick).
Since these East Coast treats are not cultivated, they only show up for a short time each year. CeL contributes a monthly recipe to the Somerville Beat series called Farmers Market Meals, and last month’s submission featured a recipe for pickled fiddleheads. Pickling veggies like fiddleheads, ramps, and asparagus is a great way to enjoy local produce out of season.
Asparagus is another plant with a short growing season that is making its first appearance right now. We get our asparagus from Hadley, MA and it is so sweet and tender that we featured them in a raw salad in this week’s share. We did a simple sautéed fiddlehead so that people get the full flavor of this unique vegetable.
If you missed getting a share this week, stay tuned to our facebook page to find out what we’ll do with our next installment of fiddleheads and asparagus.
Can’t wait for your next ONCE a Week share?
Try using fiddleheads at home. They can be exchanged for asparagus in most recipes, just make sure to take the time to clean them properly (the link above for pickled fiddleheads includes all the cleaning instructions).
Celebrate spring with sautéed fiddleheads and raw asparagus with Hollandaise sauce:
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter or sunflower oil
8 ounces fiddlehead ferns
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
3 egg yolks
4 ounces unsalted butter
Heat sunflower oil or butter in saute pan and saute blanched fiddleheads on medium heat for about 4 minutes, until tender but slightly crunchy. Salt to taste and set aside.
In a 2 quart sauce pan, bring the 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water to a boil. Let simmer until reduced to about 1 tablespoon.
Reduce heat to low and add the 3 egg yolks. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
With the heat on low, add a tablespoon of the unsalted butter and stir until melted and blended in. Keep adding butter a tablespoon at a time and blending it in.
When all butter is added, stir in salt to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
Arrange a plate with fiddleheads, asparagus, and a small bowl of hollandaise sauce for dipping. The freshness of the vegetables is the perfect counter note to the decadent Hollandaise sauce. Enjoy!