After a brutal and long winter, spring has arrived to eastern North America. For me, it heralds bike rides, yard work, daffodils, trilliums and fiddleheads.
For returning readers who have seen a couple of my previous fiddlehead recipes, Part 1 and Part 2, I do cook other things! However, these little devils are so short-lived, vibrant green, cute and yummy. From foraging to cleaning to prepping to preserving some for future use to munching in the moment…these are little pleasures.
So, a brief review: Stick to Ostrich ferns as most other varieties are toxic. Eat in limited quantities and only occasionally. Most of us will buy these in produce sections, others might forage. Either way, look for tight little heads about an inch in length. Rinse well to remove dirt and filmy brown stuff. Apparently you can eat them raw but I don’t. Blanch them in boiling water if not using right away or to freeze for future. Boil them to a crisp-tender texture if using soon. Drain them well, follow up on paper towel as they retain water. In my opinion, one has to highlight fiddleheads in a dish where there is a contrast in colour, flavour and their coiled integrity is preserved. Otherwise, hey, there are plenty of other greens that will do!
I call it a ‘KISS-wich’ because it is just simple. Use any bread, mustard, deli meat, toppings, melty cheese and accompaniments. I used light rye, yellow mustard (it’s anti-inflammatory), thin-sliced turkey and ham, thin-sliced tomato, onion, prepped fiddleheads (of course) and slivered Colby cheese. Slide it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, watchful all the while to prevent scorching. And voilà, you have a super tasty spring brunch or luncheon best consumed al fresco. Next, I might try cremini mushrooms, fiddleheads and onions sautéed in butter on toast topped with some cheese and broiled!