When I was growing up in rural New Brunswick, we would pick fiddleheads every spring along the river near my parents’ house. Because fiddleheads aren’t grown commercially, they are truly a seasonal treat and are only available for a short time each year. However, many supermarkets and farmer’s markets sell them and sometimes frozen fiddleheads can be found out of season. They are delicious in soups, salads, quiches, pickled or just cooked simply and topped with a bit of butter. Be sure to cook them well – there have been some reports of food borne illness related to undercooked fiddleheads. Cooking them thoroughly will also remove any bitter flavour that may be present in the ferns.
This salad makes a great side dish for an Asian inspired dinner. Why not serve it with some grilled salmon with a light teriyaki glaze and steamed rice? Pair with a crisp white wine such as a dry riesling.
Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
- 4 cups of fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed of any brown parts
- Large bowl of ice water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 3 large green onions (scallions) cut into thin slices, white parts only – reserve some chopped green ends for garnish
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons peanut oil or other neutral oil such as canola or safflower (avoid using peanut oil if there is a concern about peanut allergies)
- ½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon dark sodium-reduced soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.
- Fill a saucepan with enough water to just cover 4 cups of fiddleheads and bring to a boil. Add fiddleheads and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain fiddleheads and plunge immediately into the ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and place on a dishtowel or paper towel to dry thoroughly.
- In a small bowl, prepare vinaigrette. Add rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar and garlic and whisk until well combined.
- Place cooked fiddleheads and green onion slices in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette until dressing evenly coats the fiddleheads. Place salads on a plate and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and a sprinkling of green onion slices.
This article first appeared on Suite 101.com
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!