This may be the most seasonal recipe you will ever see! Fiddleheads are just at the right stage for harvesting this week! So get out there, identify your specimens, and collect them right away…but fear not. I will give you alternatives and you can bookmark this post for next year if you’ve missed the fiddle harvest.
If you’ve been reading Deb’s Pots Blog, you know that I spend a lot of time outdoors. I run 7 miles a day, hike, swim, kayak and walk every chance I get. If I had to pick my favorite activity, it would be beachcombing. I look for shells to use as imprints on my pots and as supports for pots in the wood kiln. I could do this for days on end, looking up from time to time to spot a pod of dolphins or an osprey. Pure heaven.
A close second favorite is foraging. I can’t say I’m the most experienced edible plant identifier, but Meg and I have become experienced amateurs. I regularly harvest oyster mushrooms, morels, wild chives, mint, grape leaves, day lily buds, berries and greens. When the kids were in elementary school, I took the class on an expedition and we made a foraged soup. It wasn’t as much of a hit as the sushi rolling lesson or the annual latke frying…It was more successful than the time I nearly set the classroom on fire or performed a demo using a hotplate that blew all the fuses in the whole school…
But I digress. One of the best delicacies of spring is the fiddlehead. Fiddleheads are the unfurled fronds of ferns. There is some debate in the foraging community about the edibility of different kinds of ferns. As with all foraging, I prefer to keep completely safe and I only harvest Ostrich Ferns. And I always make sure to cook them properly. You should, too! Here is a good reference (with kind permission from the author, Sam) to help guide you so that you are well informed when you go fiddlehead hunting.
If you don’t want to forage, or don’t have access, or have missed the season for this year, you may simply leave them out of the recipe. Or, substitute asparagus or artichokes for the ferns. Artichokes should be prepped and trimmed and then you may follow the exact directions in the recipe. Asparagus should be trimmed and cut into bite size pieces. But don’t boil them. Just go ahead and saute’ them with the mushrooms.
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer or lunch
This is a sort of cross between a frittata and a quiche. I use Mindfulness Bread to make crumbs, so my version is gluten free, but you may use any bread you like. Or, if you want it to be very low carb, skip the bread crumbs.
1 cup fiddleheads, cleaned
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 tbs. neutral cooking oil
4 eggs, preferably organic and free range
¼ cup milk
½ cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
¼ minced chives (wild are fine)
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray (I use organic coconut oil)
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray an 8 inch pie plate or shallow oven-safe dish with cooking spray.
Bring a small pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Boil the fiddleheads for 10 minutes and then rinse them under cold water. Put them in a kitchen towel to dry.
Saute’ the mushrooms in the oil in a heavy skillet until they begin to brown. Add the fiddleheads and give them a toss for a minute or two. Set aside to cool
Beat the eggs and milk, season with salt and pepper and add the chives.
Place the breadcrumbs in the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with the parm and the cheddar. Distribute the fiddles and mushrooms over the top of the cheese. Pour on the egg mixture.
Bake the pie for 25-30 minutes or until just set. The center might still be very slightly jiggly, but you don’t want it to be outright liquid. Let stand for 10 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate if you make it more than 2 hours ahead. It’s good hot, at room temp, cold, or reheated.