Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finally Feeling Like Spring

Up here in New England, we're kind of curing Phil the Groundhog a bit.  Early spring he said, then we get dumped on with two more storms and about 18 inches of snow.  Well after a week of 50+ degree days, the piles are finally melting down and it's pretty evident that spring is coming.

With the onset of warmer weather, I'm looking forward to planting my garden, flip flop weather and fiddlehead season.  For those of you who may be unaware, fiddleheads are a fern that grows from mid-April until late May in the northeastern US.  Their slightly firm, spiral-shaped buds that have a sweet, nutty, earthy herbaceousness to them an really do make a perfect stir fry or side dish.  They really can only be fully enjoyed at the peak of freshness so definitely plan to check them out while you can.

I personally think that they're really at their best when prepared simply and allowed to shine as an ingredient unto themselves.  Make sure you clean them well however.  Their coiled shape lends to dirt getting trapped inside.  Just run them under cold water in a colander and using your fingers, brush any accumulated dirt out of the coil of the fern.

Sautéed Fiddleheads with Lemon Citronette

1/2 pound of fiddleheads
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1 spring onion (bulb and stalk, finely chopped)
1 large garlic clove (minced)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

- Bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil and blanche your fiddleheads for about 1 minute (they will darken in color)
- In a large skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the grape seed oil until translucent
- Combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, zest, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper until emulsified
- Add the fiddleheads to the skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes
- Toss the citronette with the fiddlehead and onion mixture to evenly coat and serve immediately

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