This is what happens when your heart gets broken: you steal his digital camera and start a food blog.
- one of my favorite foods.
- abundant right here (New England), right now!
- a wild food. I'm into wild and foraged food. Seth and I had a lovely time picking fiddleheads at a foraging workshop last year.
- a link to my ancestral past. My memere cooked fugère in Canada, and it was a traditional food of Native Americans in this area. Like many French Canadians, Memere and Pepere had native people in their family trees.
- are named after the elegant spiral at the end of a violin, which reminds me of the connections between food and life, the wild and the cultured, the gastronomic and the emotional, the metaphorical and the real.
I invented this delicious salad because I had fiddleheads in the fridge that simply had to be eaten. Most recipes that you’ll see online for fiddleheads call for them to be sautéed with mushrooms or onions or served with pasta. I didn’t have any mushrooms, or I would have done that. Fiddleheads are crisp and have a taste similar to asparagus. They have an affinity for olive oil, mushrooms and cheese. They also hold their own in tomato sauces and oriental foods (http://www.wild-harvest.com/pages/fiddlehead.htm).
Caprese salad, consisting of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, is one of my favorites. Of course, it’s best when the tomatoes are fresh and locally in season, which, here in Massachusetts, isn’t until deep summer. Fiddleheads, on the other hand, are a spring treat. So, if you want to combine these ingredients to make this salad, you need to get the freshest tomatoes you can find. I like the ones that are on the vine, but grape or cherry tomatoes would also work.
1 cup rinsed, fresh, compact fiddleheads, chaff removed*
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. Italian herb blend (dried mixture of any of these herbs: basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, bay,
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces, or 1- 1 ½ cups of cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 tbs. of lemon juice
¼ cup fresh mozzarella
small bunch of fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start with the tomatoes: place chopped tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice in a large bowl and let it marinate for at least fifteen minutes. Add a pinch of salt.
2. After fiddleheads have been prepared, steam them for about five minutes or until they go from dark green to a lighter (but still BRIGHT) green. Add a pinch of salt just before the steaming finishes.
3. Slice and chop up the mozzarella into small bites. Toss into the tomato mixture.
4. When fiddleheads are done, toss them into the tomato mixture.
5. Tear the basil leaves and toss them into the mix. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.
Fiddleheads have a light, almost papery, chaff that needs to be removed before cooking. It’s easy enough to remove by rubbing the shoots between your hands under running water. Discard any fiddleheads that are not tightly curled and cut off any long stems (longer than two inches). Rinse in several changes of water to remove any dirt that becomes trapped in the curled fronds. Fiddleheads should be eaten fresh and soon after harvest – don’t let them hang out in your fridge.