Spring Eats: Fiddleheads & Asparagus

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Fiddleheads are one of the most beautiful vegetables. Tightly furled coils with a flavour reminiscent of asparagus, fiddleheads and asparagus also share a similar nutritional profile. Most notably, fiddleheads are a good source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin A, antioxidants, fiber, as well as the minerals iron, potassium, copper, and manganese.

The combination of fiddleheads and asparagus is a perfect ode to spring, but if you’re not careful you might miss out as unfortunately the season for fiddleheads is sadly, extremely brief. They can be found at some farmer’s markets and most larger grocery stores. Of course they are also available free for the picking if you know where to look for them.


Special note on foraging: It must be mentioned that there is a right and wrong way to pick fiddleheads. These ferns grow in what is called a crown containing anywhere from 6 to 12 ferns. It is critical not to harvest more than half of the fiddleheads from each crown, and to rotate areas you harvest from year to year as over harvesting will kill off the crown.


Special note on preparation: According to Health Canada, thousands of Canadians contract food poisoning from improperly prepared fiddleheads each year. Fiddleheads should never be consumed raw but must be blanched or steamed for about ten minutes prior to roasting / sautéing / etc. For more health and safety tips regarding fiddlehead ferns and their handling / storing / preparation, visit:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-safety-fruits-vegetables/fiddlehead-safety-tips.html


Pan-roasted Fiddleheads & Asparagus

with artichokes, chickpeas, and feta

DSCN4185.jpgIngredients

  • 2 cups fiddleheads; cleaned, trimmed, blanched or steamed for 10 minutes
  • 2 cups asparagus; stems trimmed, sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup Vidalia onion; small dice
  • 1 cup chickpeas; drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 marinated artichoke hearts; chopped
  • 3 Tb grapeseed oil (or herb infused oil: elorabytes.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/kitchen-essentials-basic-herb-oil/
  • 3 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 lemon; zest and juice
  • 1 Tb fresh thyme (or substitute 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves)
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper (to taste)

To serve: top with crumbled feta, lemon zest, chopped chives and basil. This is a great time to use marinated feta: elorabytes.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/spicy-marinated-feta/

 

Method

  • Heat oil over medium / medium-low heat, sauté  onion for about ten minutes, seasoning with sea salt and fresh pepper
  • Add garlic, thyme, coriander and continue cooking for a couple minutes
  • Add asparagus and cook until tender but still crisp, add blanched fiddleheads, chickpeas, artichoke hearts and cook a further 5-7 minutes
  • Take off heat, stir in lemon zest and juice, feta, chives and basil

 

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