Ahh, the delicious fiddlehead. If you live in a very arid part of the world, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about and think I’m sautéing baby aliens or something (I promise that’s not a Roswell, New Mexico joke- although understand it can be rather dry there).
Fiddleheads are the furled tops of young ferns found in rainforests like the ones in coastal British Columbia. BC has quite a strong foraging culture thanks to our (mostly) reasonable temperatures year-round. Adventurous individuals set out into the forests and collect their own mushrooms (morels being my personal favourite), berries, nettles, etc., and the fiddlehead is a prized member of the gang.
I would loooove to go foraging, but first I need to find a knowledgeable and well-seasoned forager to accompany me as my guide (Port and Fin field trip!). Foraging can be a very rewarding experience but it’s important to go with someone experienced since a lot of delicious plants looks very, very (very) similar to some rather dangerous ones.
But back to the fiddleheads… aren’t they beautiful?!
Usually fiddleheads are only available in springtime; by summer the fern fronds have typically completely unfurled. I suppose summer has come a little late for us this year because I found a basket of these fresh at my local farm market… so I guess there’s a silver lining to this mediocre weather?
Fiddleheads taste… green. Wonderfully green. For those unable to track down fiddleheads, their flavour is very similar to asparagus, so I would substitute some young stalks for this recipe.
Preparation of fiddleheads is pretty simple- trim the brown edges, boil for 10 minutes, rinse with cold water then go wild! Since they taste similar to asparagus, a popular preparation is to serve them hot, drizzled with hollandaise (hey, a second bonus recipe!).
Since these are late-season fiddleheads, I wanted to do something a little lighter and fresher, something that would make these unusual beauties really sing.
Garlic, lemon, a swipe of creamy cheese. Perfect.
|Lemon Fiddlehead Crostinis|| |
- 1 baguette
- 500 g fresh fiddleheads (or asparagus)
- 1 lemon, zest
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- olive oil
- Cream cheese
- Good quality salt*
- Trim the brown tips off your fiddleheads. (If using asparagus, trim the ends)
- Boil some well-salted water. Add fiddleheads and cook for 10 minutes (if using asparagus, boil until they turn very bright green). Drain and rinse well with very cold water to stop them from over-cooking.
- Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan then add garlic. Sauté fiddleheads for 2 minutes over medium-high heat then set aside.
- Slice your baguette into small rounds and lightly toast using a toaster oven or on a baking sheet in your full-sized oven.
- Spread a bit of cream cheese on each piece of toasted baguette then top with fiddleheads. Zest lemon over top the assembled crostinis and sprinkle with good quality salt. Serve immediately.