I want to talk to you briefly about fiddleheads, the alien-looking spring vegetable of my nightmares. Seeing as my husband’s food allergies limit his list of edible vegetables so greatly, a new one is always going to be attempted. Except, these weren’t new…
I tried them about five years ago at a Christmas dinner and they immediately became my sworn enemy. They were boiled and more bitter than anything I’d ever eaten. They ruined the rest of the food that night because that taste just wouldn’t go away.
Being the internal optimist that I am (never mind the deadpan snarker), I filled a bag and agreed with myself to eat one again (and give the rest to Devon). To my great surprise, they were unbelievably delicious. I thought they were a little bit like less-sweet asparagus. So savoury, so rich, so full of umami that I must be wrong about everything I ever thought I was right about. My roommate says that fiddleheads are so amazing that they will save any meal: don’t like the potatoes on your plate? Eat a fiddlehead with it and suddenly it’s heaven.
Lesson being, please revisit foods you’re not so sure about at different points in time, with different preparation methods. These were an absolute revelation.
Here’s all I did:
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fiddlehead ferns, brown ends trimmed and washed
1 large clove garlic, diced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
In a microwavable container, cover fiddleheads with water. Microwave for about 4 minutes or until the water is very hot and the fiddleheads have had a chance to slightly darken. Over medium heat, in a skillet or wok, heat the olive oil. Drain the fiddleheads and add to the oil. Sautee until the fiddleheads have begun to brown and add the garlic, cayenne and salt. Serve with anything you like.