Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stradivarius of Spring

Fiddlehead season is coming to a close and if you have never experienced these curled little wonders, you don't know what you are missing. These delicacies of spring are the young furled fronds of the ostrich fern and have a very short season for picking in April and May.

Fiddleheads are versatile and easy to use. They have a mild taste reminiscent of Asparagus with a bit of a nutty bite that makes them unique. Fiddleheads can be used in similar ways to any firm green vegetable such as Asparagus or Broccoli florets, but to bring out their best flavor I think they are best simply sauteed with some olive oil and garlic or fried (see recipe below).

Fiddlehead ferns are a good source of vitamins A, C, and fiber. They should not be eaten raw as they have a slight bitterness until cooked and may cause stomach upset if eaten raw in large quantity.

If more than 2 inches of stem remains attached beyond the coiled part of the fiddlehead snap or cut it off. Make sure you wash your fiddleheads thoroughly and remove the brown papery chaff which may still remain. To cook fiddleheads simply bring a small amount of lightly salted water to a boil, add washed fiddleheads, and cook them at a steady boil for 8-10 minutes. Fiddleheads can also be washed clean and steamed for 20 minutes. The sooner they are eaten, the more delicate their flavor.

I rarely deep fry food, but I find that frying locks in the fiddlehead's unique flavor. They only come around once a year - so I say, "Why not treat yourself to some deep-fried goodness?"

Beer Battered Fried Fiddleheads with a Garlic and Chive Mayo Dipping Sauce

For Garlic and Chive Mayo Dipping Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let flavors blend. Serve alongside fried fiddleheads as a dipping sauce.

For Fiddleheads

1 cup flour

6 ounces beer (I used Magic Hat's Spring Vinyl)

2 teaspoons baking powder
salt and pepper to taste

Canola oil for frying

1/2 lb fiddleheads, washed and trimmed

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt pepper in a bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in beer until batter is just barely thick.

3. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large sauteed pan over medium heat.
4. Dip fiddleheads into the batter, removing any excess and place in hot oil.
5. Cook both sides until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes per side).
6. Remove cooked fiddleheads with a slotted spoon and drain on plate covered with a paper towel.
7. Serve with chilled dipping sauce.

Recipe Copyright In Season Personal Chef and Nutrition Services, LLC

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Baaack!

A couple part-time jobs and a puppy, who was quite an adorable handful, have side-tracked me over the past year. Things are finally settling down and the urge to document my recipes and photos has returned. A fantastic new book has also helped to get me back on track. The book is called Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling by Helene Dujardin, which takes you through the art and techniques of food photography. The photography is rather inspiring so you can expect to hear from me again very soon.