Saturday, June 21

Fiddleheads


February 20.  The date of my last post here.  

It's been a while friends.  This past semester has been difficult with two new preps, a few behaviourally-challenged students, and unfortunately, many nights of eating out or ordering in.  But exam week is over now, and in one short week - SUMMER! The time of lazying around, planting herbs, experimenting with our new-to-us-but-used barbecue and mid-morning yoga classes.  I can't wait.  Of course, summer also comes with new blog-updating-resolutions.  
Having a little more time this past week allowed me to pick up some locally-grown and handpicked fiddleheads.  These are the curled fronds of a young fern plant.  If you've ever seen them growing, they start off looking like a violin scroll, then unfurl into a fern plant.  I tried them for the first time one year ago in New Brunswick - actually, I tasted them off a plate of one of my fellow-conference goers.  Interesting texture: crisp on the outside with a soft middle.
Even though I had time to pick these up at a specialty store, apparently I didn't have time to research their proper and safe preparation.  Don't worry, we were all fine, no one got sick.  But as I was checking out the details for this post, I found out my method of cooking was not the most safe - oops!  I've modified the recipe to include what I would do next time:
Sauteed Fiddleheads
- 1 bag fiddleheads - I had enough to serve 3 as a side dish
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp butter (or more!)
- pinch salt
- few cranks fresh ground pepper
1.  Boil some water in a medium saucepan.  Meanwhile, clean the fiddleheads, cutting off any black/brown parts, and washing the fronds of dirt.
2.  Blanch (that means throw into the boiling water) the fiddleheads in the water for 7-10 minutes (this is the part I didn't do!) until crisp but not soggy.  Shock them by placing in a bowl of ice water.  Insert a sieve first for easy retrieval.
3.  Melt butter in saute pan on medium heat and cook garlic for 1 min or until fragrant but not burnt.  Meanwhile, pat dry the fiddleheads with paper towel or clean dish towel.  Add the dry fiddleheads, salt and pepper to the butter and saute until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
I served these with trout and mashed potatoes adorned with chives from my garden.  Yum!


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