Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is a fiddlehead fern.

He's a funny little guy, isn't he?
Fiddlehead ferns, also called ostrich ferns, are new-growth fronds that have not opened up yet.

They, apparently, must be picked during a two-week window before the fern unfurls. Fiddleheads are so named because they resemble the scroll at the top of an, ahem, fiddle. In these United States of America, Maine and Vermont are the main sources of this seasonal wild food. Fiddleheads are rumored to taste like asparagus combined with artichoke. Or, some say, okra.
My tavern-friend Bobby has a place in Maine, and he is apparently a fiddlehead forager extraordinaire (fiddleheads are foraged, not cultivated), because he brought back several vacuum-packed bags of fiddleheads, which he gave to Maureen, um, Peter, um, me.
This guy says fiddlehead are $19.99 a pound in San Diego. This, therefore, is a bag of the purest Maine fiddlehead gold, dude! Mistah and I? We cooked our bag right up, and made ourselves a delightful meal. And here's how we did it.

First, we lit the Vulcan.

The Vulcan is, well, how does one describe the Vulcan? Not a child, not a pet, not an appliance . . . somewhere in the middle. And I'm pretty sure the Vulcan is a male.

Then I cut open that vacuum-sealed bag . . .

. . . and pure loveliness spilled out.

I read lots of fiddlehead websites yesterday, and they all agreed that those little ferns need a good rinse first . . . .

. . . before they got blanched. Blanched! Ack! Actually, It's not as bad as it sounds. Just a minute or two in boiling water. Nothing they couldn't handle. I didn't blanch for a minute while the poor ol' fiddleheads did.

Okay, so, now I think I'm on a cooking show, because really. Who has this in her kitchen? Are they not just gorgeous?

I mean, really.

Okay, enough blanching. [Blanch.] Next I gave them an ice-and-water bath. Why not? They deserved it. And then right into the garlic and olive oil . . .

. . . add a splash of the best chahr-bonnay. Only the very best will do . . .

. . . and let them stew in their own fiddlehead-esque juices for a while, while the pasta cooks. Bow-ties. Natch.

Okay. Then. Pasta in.

Stir. (I am on a cooking show!!! )

A little freshy peppah . . . .

. . . and a salad. And since we're the just-out-house (as Mumsie would say), this is a salad with no tomato, with no onion, with no carrot. A just-out salad.

Anyay. Voilà!

Fiddlehead delight.

And all from these modest little guys.

Bon Apétit!


Fiddleheadless in Central PA said... mouth is watering and it's only 9:25am. Why hasn't my sister, who has lived in Maine the last 15 yrs, ever shared these fiddleheads?? I'll be forwarding this blog at once!
Thanks for sharing.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, she is in deep, deep doo-doo. Hope this helps!


Pickles and Dimes said...

Wow! They look so good! What kind of flavor do they have?

Me, You, or Ellie said...

A delicious flavor. Not asparagus, but closer to asparagus than to artichokes or okra. They taste like green and spring and Maine. And garlic and wine. ;)


Kat said...

That looks so yummy!

Anonymous said...

So, what did YOU think they tasted like? Chicken? or asparagus?

The Blue Ridge Gal

Anonymous said...

Never mind.. I see you already answered this for another commenter..


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Well, shoot. I missed my big chance, Di. "Chicken."


mumple said...

They look good, and I don't generally like green things.

I also covet your Vulcan.

Captain Dumbass said...

Supreme Leader started to shake and twitch when she saw your Vulcan. I quickly told her it probably belonged to your bar and tore her away from the computer.

XUP said...

I love fiddleheads! Like asparagus they have a really short season. But it's mandatory for those two weeks that you eat nothing but fiddleheads and/or asparagus. I find them very similar, except fiddleheads have that bit of wild greens bitterness about them. That's a nice recipe you have their. We just usually steam them and butter them. I'll have to try this one.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Those look delicious, and you are so cute and happy with your tan face, although you are dressed for the tundra.

I am hesitant to trust you, however, after the lies you perpetrated when you told me that broccoli rabe is delicious. shudder Jacquie

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Fiddleheads, huh? Interesting. But what I really want to know is do they give you asparagus pee? Or perhaps a similar fiddlehead scent???


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Jacquie! Broccoli rabe *is* delicious! Ever so!

And Beth. No! I never thought of that angle either. That's what happens when you blog up half loaded.

And Captain? The Vulcan is about 47 times more stove than the Tavern has. The Tavern's entire cooking space is 2 burners and a griddle. Pfffffttt. Vulkie spits on such child's play.


Kathi D said...

First. That is One Awesome Stove. Now. Is it only a certain type of fern, or any old fern that hasn't opened yet? I remember having these once in Seattle or somewhere, but never since.

Unknown said...

Awesome-sauce, ma'am! Looks yummy!