TL is one of my favourite people to cook with. We often bounce ideas off of each other, and some of the things she’s introduced me to have become go to favourites. TL not only introduced me to fiddleheads – which I had long known about, but hadn’t gotten around to trying- but she prepared them as this lovely simple side.
You will need:
- 1 1/2- 2 cups prepared fiddleheads – see here for instructions on how to safely prepare fiddleheads for cooking
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
- zest of one lemon, plus juice from one wedge
- salt and pepper to taste
Add butter to pan on med-med high. Add fiddleheads and garlic once butter is melted. Sauté for 10 minutes. You will see the fiddleheads release some of their moisture.
Fiddleheads and butter- you can see they are releasing some moisture
just about ready to go!
When ready to serve, zest lemon and hit with the juice from a wedge of lemon. If you zest/juice too soon, they will discolour.
Tonight I served them with rice and grilled pork chops that had marinated in beer and drizzled with apricot white balsamic vinegar to finish.
Today I got up early to go birding, it was supposed to be clear, and looked promising at 6am. However, by 7am it had clouded over and was no longer great light for photography. As I was wandering looking for warblers, I noticed a few fiddleheads around. Deciding all was not lost for my morning adventure, I decided to do some foraging.
When I got home I went straight to rinsing and then boiling my fiddleheads. My original idea had been just to pick enough for supper, but since it was a breezy bug free morning I ended up collecting quite a bit. Fiddleheads have a bit of an asparagus/spinach flavour and I thought they would be nice in an omelette. They weren’t just nice, they were amazing! I can’t wait to make this again 🙂
For how to prep fiddleheads for cooking, please see this post here. It is important to properly prepare fiddleheads for eating as they have been associated with food borne illness when not fully cooked.
Time: 15 to 20 min – if using already prepped fiddleheads
Makes: 2 omelettes
You will need:
- 1 cup boiled fiddle heads – see preparing fiddleheads
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 6 tbsp grated asiago cheese
- 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives + more for garnish
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp butter
In a frying pan melt 1 tbsp butter, add previously boiled fiddleheads and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Whisk two eggs. Melt 1 tsp of butter in a small frying pan, when melted, but before browned, add eggs slowly to pan, swirling to distribute evenly.
Add 1/2 of the prepared fiddlehead/garlic saute, 3 tbsp grated asiago and 1 tbsp snipped chives. When eggs have just about set, using a spatula, fold omelette in half. Cook a few more min as necessary. Serve with additional snipped chives.
Repeat using the remaining butter, eggs, fiddleheads, cheese and chives for a second omelette.
There is something especially satisfying about eating things you’ve grown yourself. I find that same sort of satisfaction even when I haven’t grown it myself, but have done the footwork of finding, collecting and preparing something mother nature has provided.
Fiddleheads aren’t an especially northwestern Ontario treat, they grow all over Canada. They are only in season for a few short weeks, making them an easy to miss treat if you aren’t watching out for them.
When foraging, it’s always important to be able to properly identify what you are picking. Most ferns make a ‘fiddlehead’ but not all are edible. The Ostrich fern is the one you are looking for. It’s also important to never pick all of the fiddlheads from a ‘clump’. Only take a few, if you take them all the fern will die.
Ostrich fern fiddleheads have a deep, ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the smooth stem with thin, brown, paper-like scales covering the newly emerging fiddleheads. The scales fall off as the fiddlehead grows. Bracken fern (a questionably edible species) have fuzzy fiddleheads and lack the “U”. Here is another site with some helpful photos to help with identification, as well as tips for identification at other times of year.
Washed and ready to boil
Washed and ready to boil
Preparing fiddle heads for eating
- Remove as much of the papery covering as you can with your fingers.
- Rinse, shaking them up and rubbing off more of the brown papery covering in several changes of cold water. Fiddleheads often grow in sandy soils, so they can be gritty as well.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Health Canada recommends boiling for 15 minutes – many other sources recommend between 7 and 10.
- After fiddleheads have been boiled, they are now ready to cook however you are going to prepare them.
To prepare to freeze
- Follow steps 1-3 above
- You now have two choices, you can blanch them- boil for two minutes then plunge into icy water.
- Drain and lay flat on a parchment covered cookie sheet, place into freezer bags when frozen.
- If you choose to only blanch them, they STILL MUST be boiled before cooking with them.
You can boil them for the 15 minutes and then plunge into icy water- this way when you go to cook with them you don’t need to do the 15 minute boil.
These fiddle heads have been boiled and are ready to cook with.