Fiddleheads in Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce
It's fiddleheads season!!! I might be easily excited, but I love these tasty, crisp, green, spirals. They are absolutely delicious and incredibly good for you.
Never heard of ‘em? Read on. I'll discuss what they are, why they're so great, what to do with them, and my favorite way to prepare them.
WHAT ARE They?
Fiddleheads are seasonal, green, coiled veggies that are not cultivated, but only foraged in the wild, which is why they are only available from late April to mid-June. They are the first growth of a fern, called the ostrich fern. As the fern grows, each frond unrolls, growing upward, but in its early stages, it remains close to the ground, curled in a tight spiral, which resembles the head of a violin (hence its moniker, “fiddlehead”).
how do they taste?
Crisp, delicious, unique… green! Some people think that they taste a bit like asparagus, broccoli, spinach, or green beans, but I don't agree. Fiddleheads are more crisp, delicate, and delicious than all of those veggies. So much so, in fact, that my daughter (who is usually averse to anything green) can't get enough. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact taste of this special little plant, but suffice it to say that it is very tasty and will leave you wanting more and impatiently waiting for next May to arrive.
Are they good for you?
OMG, so good!!! It turns out that fiddleheads are a nutritional powerhouse. They have twice the antioxidant activity of blueberries; they are a non-marine source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, and are rich in iron, fiber, potassium, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamins A and C, zinc and beta-carotene. They are 3-4 times higher in phenolic compound concentration than spinach and contain cancer-fighting agents. That being said, please keep in mind that fiddleheads contain an unidentified natural toxin and can cause food poisoning if they have not been stored, prepared or cooked properly.
Fiddleheads in Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves 2 (See visual recipe below)
2 Tbsps grass-fed butter and /or olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb Fiddleheads
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pink Himalayan salt to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2 TBS Parmesan cheese (optional)
Clean the fiddleheads thoroughly. Because they grow wild, they may still have dirt or other debris from the forest floor clinging to them which can cause food poisoning.*
Place the fiddleheads in a colander and rinse them with cold water to remove any husks.
Soak them in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes (you may need to change the water out a couple of times) and then dry them (I used a salad spinner and it worked perfectly).
Finally, trim the tops of the stems to remove the dark ends with a knife and look Individually clean fiddleheads by using your fingers to remove any visible brown husk
Steam the fiddleheads for at least 10-12 minutes or boil them for 15 minutes. Drain and dry them in a salad spinner.
Place a pan over medium high heat and heat the butter and /or olive oil until hot.
Add the minced garlic, stirring constantly for about a minute or so to avoid burning.
Note: make sure to let your garlic rest for 10-15 minutes after you chop it up to get its maximum nutritional benefits.
Stir in the fiddleheads and add the lemon juice, mixing everything together.
Sprinkle with Himalayan salt and the red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.
Add some shredded Parmesan cheese if you like and enjoy this delicious, once-a-year treat.
* Fiddleheads contain an unidentified natural toxin and can cause food poisoning if they have not been stored, prepared or cooked properly. Eating raw or improperly cooked fiddleheads can cause symptoms of foodborne illness. Symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and headaches. Once your fiddleheads have been properly cleaned, make sure you fully cook them before using them in any recipe. You can boil them for 12-15 minutes or steam them for 10-12 minutes. Discard any leftover water.