On Sunday, May 5th I had the opportunity to join several other New England Personal Chefs, along with about 30,000 other walkers to help feed the hungry. Over 3 million dollars was raised for this cause. Way to Go Team!
The next day, although feeling a bit sore in areas that are better off left unsaid I succumbed to the prodding of my four legged pal Sammy and we went for a walk in the local woods. The route we were going to take was about a mile and a half loop and upon pulling into the parking lot I remembered that the week before I had seen Fiddleheads growing in the area and decided that it may be a great day do to do some foraging.
Having read up on Fiddleheads previously, I knew that there is a limited season for them and also that they are not grown on farms and are only harvested from the wild. I also knew that they are the new shoots of several variety of ferns and are chock full of nutrients.
A major caveat here is that some studies show that eating raw or under cooked Fiddleheads may be hazardous to your health so if you choose to forage them yourself, please do your research beforehand and follow safety precautions.
As Sammy lead the way, we came across our first “nest” of Fiddleheads.
These little guys tend to grow in batches and once you see them you know what they are. After all, they are called Fiddleheads because they look like; well, fiddleheads.
I immediately starting harvesting the prehistoric looking “vegetable” and soon had enough for one serving and continued the hike until the next batch was located which was about 100 yards away. These too were soon harvested and after a few more stops I had enough for dinner. I must admit that I did indeed eat one raw (not recommended) in order to sample its natural form and I was surprised by the almost nutty like asparagus flavor. I was looking forward to getting home and getting them from the field to the plate.
My plan that evening was to grill some chicken wings as the weather cried out for a barbecue and I had some wings waiting that had already been brined and my Southwestern Rub on them . The Fiddleheads would be a perfect side.
Fiddleheads are typically breaded and fried but I wanted to try them in a more natural state so I blanched them and then sautéed them in butter and garlic.
It is recommended that wild Fiddleheads are washed and rinsed several times and then boiled prior to eating. The quick sauté was the finishing touch.
Dinner was served and I was quite pleased with the result, after cooking the Fiddleheads the taste reminded my more of a spinach like taste and I was quite pleased that I was able to harvest a natural resource in the afternoon and serve it that evening. Talk about supporting local farming!
Would I do this again? You better believe it. I am already looking into some foraging classes to see what else I can bring home from my hikes.
Thanks for reading, and as always
Always Be Cooking!