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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fiddleheads : An Asian Inspired Dish

A few days ago I posted about my first unsuccessful attempt with Fiddleheads and found out that most of you had not tried them or were put off by their appearance (I was too). But I forged ahead with a plan to try again when I saw that Natasha commented to me that she just purchased some, we decided to do a co-post. We wanted to come up with some type of theme to our recipes and after a bit of brainstorming, came up with Asian cuisine (and ended up with very similar recipes-great minds!). Below I present my version. Please give it a try as I found them quite enjoyable in this recipe and will look forward to their arrival each spring.

Now more about fiddleheads: They are the young coiled leaves of the ostrich fern and are only around for the few weeks of early spring. They are harvested when they are an inch or two above the ground. To clean and prepare them for eating, you need to carefully remove the papery brown scales and thoroughly wash them several times until the wash water appears clean. Then bring a small amount of lightly salted water to a boil, add washed fiddleheads, and cook them at a steady boil for 10 minutes or steam for 20 minutes. Since they are only available for a few weeks, some people freeze them after cleaning, blanch them for 2 minutes, drain and then pack them up for freezing. Then they are thawed and boiled for 10 minutes.

On a nutritional note, fiddleheads are per ounce: 10 calories, 1 g of protein, contains miscellaneous minerals, 20%DV Vitamin A and 12%DV Vitamin C.

1/3 box of whole wheat spaghetti (can always try soba noodles if you want)
½ lb. Fiddleheads
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup red peppers, chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup scallions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ Kosher salt

3 Tablespoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar or even lemon juice)
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)


1. Bring two pots of water to a boil (one for fiddleheads and one for spaghetti). Clean the fiddleheads by rinsing very well, and gently removing brown paper skin. Trim off any brown ends. Place into boiling water for 20 minutes and then place into a bowl of ice cold water for a few minutes and drain. Cook half the box of spaghetti according to package directions, then rinse in cold water to keep from sticking and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan/wok. Add minced garlic, red peppers, mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes, then add the fiddleheads, scallions, ginger and red pepper flakes and sauce and sauté for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Prepare sauce by whisking all ingredients until well blended.

4.Add spaghetti to pan/wok and toss gently. Top with shredded carrots.

In conclusion, I did enjoy this dish and think it can be further enhanced with some tofu or shrimp. Also, this would be great as a cold, room temperature or hot dish. Now you have my permission to head over to 5-Star Foodie.


Mary said...

Your dish looks like a rainbow. A cornucopia of color.

Chef E said...

Noodles and ferns make a nice combo! I am getting them again...

doggybloggy said...

this asian fusion is working for me - I remember some old moosewoods recipe from years ago I am going to see if I can track that down...great job!

goodshoeday said...

I didn't know what fiddleheads were when I looked at you last post so thanks for explaining. Not something i've ever seen in the UK but maybe I'm not looking hard enough! Looks and interesting dish.

Joan Nova said...

Came over to you from 5 Star Foodie...hoping to find the answer to "but what do they taste like?"

Here Forward said...

Found you on the SITS website...are these the same fiddleheads that grow wild in the woods behind my house?!!

Jennifer said...

doggybloggy: welcome and I would love to see that recipe

goodshoeday: I am not sure how far these guys are distributed but you could always ask the manager of your store.

Joan Nova: I guess they are like a cross between asparagus and broccoli

Here Foward: thanks for coming over to visit and where do you live?

girlichef said...

I can see you, I can see you!! You made a beautiful dish from these fiddleheads...good job. I didn't see any around my area this year...maybe next :/

Tangled Noodle said...

What a beautiful plate! I have yet to see fiddleheads around here but will give them a try if ever they show up.

Chef Fresco said...

Thanks for the fiddleheads info! Creative recipe!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer, I followed you from the foodieblogroll. This dish caught my eye, esp since not too many people like making fiddleheads.Hope you wont mind,I'd love to guide our readers to your site, just add this foodista widget to this post and it's all set to go, Thanks! - Alisa@Foodista

Soma said...

Sounds really really good, with the sesame oil & the chili flakes & all those colors!

Here Forward said...

Jennifer: I live in Northern Illinois

Kevin said...

Nice looking fiddlehead pasta! I just discovered fiddleheads this year as well.

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