Sunday, June 7, 2009

Welcome to Fiddlehead: Inaugural Post

This is what happens when your heart gets broken: you steal his digital camera and start a food blog.

Because you know, right about now,  he's wishing he could be eating your cooking . . . . 

Welcome to Fiddlehead. I'm Patricia and this is my blog. I'm an adjunct professor of English with a keen interest in the environment, food and healthy, conscious living. Read more about the anticipated content of this blog in the sidebar under, "About Fiddlehead."

What you won't see there is an explanation as to why I named the blog "Fiddlehead." Aside from the fact that it's just a great word (compound word with fun-to-say consonance and the suggestion of a double-meaning), fiddleheads are:
  • 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. 
My aim here is to not just list my recipes with a bunch of pretty pictures (like you don't have any) but to spark conversations about food issues (sustainability, activism against industrial agriculture, organic gardening, macrobiotics, healthy food, poverty and world hunger, and other stuff) and about food books/writing, programs, movies, etc. I may even torture my readers with my original poetry(food-themed, of course) from time to time. I want to do more than just recant snobby, gourmet recipes and offer banal reviews of over-priced restaurants; like its name, this blog should be special, fresh, something you can't get everywhere. I want this blog to be reflective of the emotional, political and personal aspects of eating and cooking. 

It is, after all, the work of a love-sick poet.

So, if I'm going to name my blog after them, I guess I'd better make sure my first post has something to do with fiddleheads. I have a couple recipes: one is Fiddlehead Caprese (below; this recipe also contains some basics about cooking with fiddleheads) and the other . . . I'm making it for the first time tonight, so you'll have to wait until I go make it, photograph it and eat it before I let you know how it is. 

In researching for this blog, I also came across other food bloggers who have recipes for fiddleheads; I haven't tried the recipes, but you can check these out and let me know what you think:

Several Unique Fiddleheads Recipes at

In a few hours, check back and see if I've posted the new recipe -- I'll be sure to get to it tonight. Until then, here's my Fiddlehead Caprese.

Fiddlehead Caprese

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 (

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,

            thyme, fennel)

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.


Preparing Fiddleheads

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. 


Linda said...

Congratulations on your new endeavor. I hope you have as much fun blogging as I do. Thanks also for stopping by my blog. Fiddleheads are something I have yet to try. I like it as a name for the blog, as a food, still can't say. I am looking forward to reading your posts. It sounds like you plan to cover some very interesting topics.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Sorry, the "Linda" above was me. I inadvertently sent it from another email account.


Thanks for getting back to me! Look forward to reading your blog!

Seth said...

indeed it is true. Finest food I ever did eat. I can hardly appreciate a decent restaurant these days.

Chef Chuck said...

Hello Patricia, Congratulations to you for your new wonderful blog! You seem to be a wonderful person and I am sure you will have fun doing it.
Fiddleheads are something I have not tasted here in the high plains of Arizona! But anyway one day I will taste this great Caprese Salad you have so nicely compiled! Thank You and Enjoy :)