Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fiddle Me This

Fiddlehead ferns are one of the signs of spring here in the Northeast. When I was a kid, the forest behind our house was filled with a sea of green come spring, but I never imagined those plants were a delicacy. I always see them in the market, but I've never cooked them until now. The warnings have always scared me off - MAY CAUSE INTESTINAL DISTRESS is not a way I'd like to start -- or end -- a meal.

So once again, I was in the market and the little green creatures were smiling up at me from their bin -- "Bring us home! Cook us! Eat us!" I'm a sucker for good-looking produce, and into my basket they went. Back home, I followed the instructions I found online - soak in water to separate the brown outer leaves from the fern, parboil to remove toxins, then stirfry with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

And the results? Meh. It tasted just like asparagus, with a little softer texture. And frankly, that was too much work for almost-asparagus. I am glad I've tried them, but I think I'll be able to resist their siren song next time.


Anonymous said...

These grow near the pond at my grandmother's house, and as a kid I would pick them and we'd have them for dinner. When I told these wild stories to people in South Jersey when I moved there in the 5th grade, they looked at me like I was nuts, and turned up the Bon Jovi.

I dig fiddleheads because they are a tasty green part of my childhood, and they are kind of weird.

Pam said...

See, I can totally understand liking them if they were part of your childhood. I used to put pretzels on my pizza, and even thinking about it now brings me back to the good ol' days.