Monday, April 27, 2009

fiddle me this

one of the more peculiar and elusive vegetables of the spring harvest, fiddlehead ferns get their name due to the resemblance they bear to the scroll of a violin. the "fiddlehead" stage is common to all fern species, and refers to the unfurled fronds of a young plant. although alien in appearance, these little critters are actually rather ubiquitous all over the world. in north america, the most popular species harvested for human consumption is the ostrich fern. fiddleheads should NOT be eaten raw, as they contain shikimic acid that is bitter and may lead to stomach issues if not properly neutralized by the application of heat. several online resources recommend blanching fiddleheads in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, however, i only blanched mine for about 5 minutes and i'm still standing.

the flavor profile is something along the lines of a shot of asparagus with a wheatgrass chaser. i didn't do much with them on this run because i just wanted to get a feel for their flavor. next time i'm going to take it to the next level and hit them with some high heat, butter and lemon zest after a quick blanch.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -