It’s just about the end of the season to purchase fiddleheads. They have such a short season, I’ve only seen them available in stores and markets in the spring. Particularly, the month of May. After that, they disappear for another year. I tried fiddlehead ferns (or, frequesntly referred to simply as fiddleheads) for the first time last spring. Not because I was cautious of trying them, but mostly because I didn’t know how to cook and enjoy them. I gave them a try anyway, and sautéed them with garlic and butter. They were delicious!
They look like this:
That’s the first batch of fiddleheads, sautéed with garlic and butter, that I made this season. Before I had read more about preparing and serving them. They tasted wonderful despite not trimming the brown spots.
This spring, I decided to browse recipe blogs for more exciting ideas for serving fiddleheads and more information on preparing them.
To prepare fiddleheads:
- Soak fiddleheads in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt.
- Remove from bowl using a slotted spoon.
- Empty bowl and rinse out dirt.
- Repeat at least once more.
- Trim the brown spots from the cleaned fiddleheads.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Blanch fiddleheads for 2-4 minutes.
- Remove from boiling water and place in an ice bath.
My favourite was the Fiddlehead Pasta from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. The original recipe is vegan, so I made quite a few adjustments to suit our meal preferences.
This isn’t the most cost-effective dish I’ve made. In fact, it’s a bit more on the expensive side of what I would usually cook… but it’s delicious and perfect to serve if you happen to have an occasion to celebrate and want to cook at home instead of eating out. (I think my excuse was making it through my first conference.)
Shrimp and Fiddlehead Pasta
- 1 pound uncooked shrimp, shells removed (otherwise it takes a long time to eat!) – approximate cost $10.00
- 1 pound fiddleheads, rinsed and brown spots trimmed – approximate cost $5.00
- 3 cloves of garlic – minced – approximate cost $0.75
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes – approximate cost $0.10
- 2 tablespoons butter – approximate cost $0.15
- 2 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.15
- 1 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.75
- 1 lemon, sliced into four wedges – approximate cost $0.75
- 1 package of whole grain spaghettini (or your facourite type of pasta) – approximate cost $3.00
- 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
- Prepare the fiddleheads (clean, trim, blanche, and move to ice bath).
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add salt and pasta.
- Cook according to directions on package.
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil and minced garlic, cook for about 1 minute.
- Add shrimp and fiddleheads and cook until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through (about 5 minutes).
- Add chili pepper flakes and lemon juice.
- Serve fiddleheads and shrimp over pasta and with a lemon wedge on the side.
Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $5.18 per serving).