I strolled into our local market City Feed this evening and eyed a bin full of Fiddlehead Ferns. At $17.99 a pound, they have to be good right? To be honest I eyed these a few days ago and was highly tempted to purchase without any knowledge of this seasonal vegetable delicacy.
First, yes, Fiddlehead Ferns, are… ferns. Basically they are the harvested unfurled fronds of a fern. (The name coming from the resemblance to the head-stock of a fiddle.) They are rich in antioxidants, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids… sounds fantastic right? Pick the wrong fern and you could also be eating some delicious toxicity. (Also, is fronds a great word or what?)
More from the good folks at Wikipedia on Fiddlehead Ferns.
I decided to make another salad with my cute little fronds. My brand new fronds. My best fronds. My BFF (best fronds forever). Speaking of fronds, don’t forget to frond my face book page.
And dammit if City Feed didn’t also have some absolutely gorgeous radishes… had to incorporate some color.
Fun fact: In 1994 while working on my BFA in photography at the University of Georgia I supplemented my extracurricular weekend income by working as a cook at Michael Stipe’s vegetarian restaurant “Guaranteed”. I always wondered if the name came from the song “Star Me Kitten” off of Automatic for the People. Anyway, when I applied for the job they handed me a blank piece of paper and told me to write down my phone number and a short note about why I should be hired. I drew a bunch of doodles of garnishes and explained that I was a “garnish king”. They hired me, but probably on the basis of my knee high biker boots and cut-off jean shorts. And yes, I met Michael many times.
City Feed posted instructions on using the Fiddlehead ferns… you want to remove any remnants of the brown husks (resembles onion skin) and then rinse in cold water. Then, boil for 15 minutes before sautéing or serving. I assume this is to soften the Fiddleheads as well as to remove any bacteria associated with the veggie.
I rinsed the radishes, trimmed the stock, lightly scraped the skin with a pairing knife, delicately butterflied into thin strips (without detaching the slices) and then bathed the gorgeous specimens in rice wine vinegar for about 30 minutes.
My vinaigrette… oh wow, this is fantastic. You have to try this:
Mince one medium shallot. Add to 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. When the shallots begin to get nice and toasty remove from the burner. In a mixing bowl add 4-5 tablespoons of Modena balsamic vinegar, 2-3 tablespoons of honey and the olive oil + shallots. Whisk until creamy.
Aw, kale no! Yes, I am afraid so. I am addicted to kale… the official lettuce of Disney landscapers. Whatever. It’s so tasty and in my opinion really holds a vinaigrette quite nicely. (Not to mention the crazy health benefits of this decorative roughage.)
Toss the kale into the vinaigrette, or rather, toss the vinaigrette into the kale.
I ended up coating the Fiddleheads in the leftover olive oil/shallot residue in the frying pan before adding to the salad for a bit of added flavor.
This. Was. Amazing. (And vegan!)
I did pair with a cherrywood smoked fresh mozzarella for some added protein… and I may or may not have served while wearing a pair of knee high biker boots rocking out to an eclectic mix of mid-90′s musical fare.
Skrillex? Katy Perry? Give me a fucking break.
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