Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fiddlehead Ferns (or why I should be accompanied when grocery shopping)

I love to grocery shop, I always have.  I hate shopping for clothes, accessories, makeup and all the other things women typically adore.  But roaming the aisles for food, I could do it for hours.  As you may have noted from my previous posts, I am in heaven since the opening of the Dill Pickle Food Co-op.  Everything my culinary heart desired under one roof just minutes from my house.

The co-op provides me a source for new and varied products, spices, fruits and vegetables.  This was the first year I've cooked with ramps and today I purchased something I don't think I've even seen in person, fiddlehead ferns.

A quick glance through my cookbooks proved that I do not have a single recipe for the strange looking spring vegetable.  I did find an entry for them in The Flavor Bible, as follows:

Season:  Spring
Taste:  Bitter
Weight:  Medium
Volume:  Moderate-Loud
Techniques/Tips:  Always serve cooked:  blanch, boil, sautee, steam

Sounds about right for a very strange looking spring vegetable that is not routinely seen in your run-of-the-mill grocery store.

The Flavor Bible actually provides quite a list of recommended flavor pairings.  The bolded or highly recommended flavor pairings include sweet butter, cheese: comte, goat, parmesan, onions, pasta, vinaigrettes and vinegar: balsamic and sherry.  The BOLDED CAPITALIZED (very highly recommended) pairing is wild mushrooms.

Luckily I also grabbed a handful of shiitake mushrooms and a leek.  I'm going to see what a bit of internet research combined with a bit of ingenuity help me come up with in the next couple of days...

***Editor's Note:  A day or two later I did find a recipe for fiddlehead ferns in From Asparagus to Zucchini put out by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition (MACSAC). 

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