Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Foraging for Fiddleheads

It's spring so that means lots of little things peeking out from under the winter detritus of twigs and alder leaves. Just this week it seems like everything has come to life. Just look at this skunk cabbage springing forth.

Yes, spring is in the air. It was 44 degrees this morning. I walked to work in a skirt without long underwear. All this leads me to talking about Fiddleheads! Those little curly pre-fern treats. I haven't ever gathered them before, but I've snacked on them while working on the woods. Last Sunday I took my new galvanized pail to the woods to forage. It was ok, the snow had only recently melted so many of the plants haven't heard it's spring yet.

It was a small take, but totally worth it. Larousse said fiddleheads are a Quebecois treat and are usually blanched first. So I blanched them.

After they tasted like a cross between asparagus and chard. The Dirty Fisherman said they tasted like a vegetable (and not hot buttered ass, as his tone implied). Success!

The Tlingit folks ate fiddleheads with grease. What more do you need? My grease was bacon fat since seal is off the menu here.

I planned on just sauteing them in some fat and garlic, but then I found a shallot so that got added. (Really, I don't know why I let something as transcendent as a shallot linger in my root cellar/bucket.)

They were surprisingly good. Or it wasn't really surprising since they were fried in the trifecta of perfection. This went nicely with the chimichurri venison backstrap and roast potatoes.

four simple (cheap) ingredients.

Sauteing garlic and shallots in the pan.

Shallots absorb a lot of bacon fat. If I weren't so heart conscious (snort) I'd add more.

Adding the blanched fiddleheads to the garlic and shallots

Done and in a fantastic '50's pyrex bowl (the red one).

So here is my recipe:

1-2 cups fiddleheads (or other green veggie item)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons bacon grease (or butter or olive oil, you health nut)

Blanch the fiddleheads for about 1 minute. Drain and let cool in a colander or sieve.

Melt the fat in a pan, saute garlic until just before it turns brows. Add the shallot, cooking until translucent. Add the blanched fiddleheads and cook for about 3 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. It has been years since I experimented with eating fiddleheads. It didn't last long - scraping off the fuzzy stuff was too much work. Looking at your photos, I now realize that step isn't required. Thanks for the inspiration!