Fiddle-dee-dee. They have always had the ability to stop me in my tracks, with their curled tails tucked beneath what looks like furry little bellies: fiddleheads. I must have walked by them a hundred times at the grocery store with a perplexed look across my face, never knowing what to think of them, never mind how to cook them. What strange looking little creatures, and I've heard they are a delicacy-but what the heck is it?
It turns out they are neither a fiddle, nor a head.
Fiddleheads are, in fact, an unfurled fern that is harvested before sprouting. After reading a bit about Fiddleheads, I was able to gather the flavor is similar to asparagus, which our family loves, and we eat often. From my research, I learned they are a bit crunchy, and most recipes called for blanching to make them tender, all good tips that I took into consideration when devising how I was going to move forward with preparation.
I love a good challenge, and my family are the perfect, willing, guinea pigs to try out new recipes on!
After blanching the fiddleheads for five minutes to make them tender, I plunged them into a bowl of iced water to stop them from cooking. Once they were blanched and drained, I gave them a pat dry with a clean towel, and layered evenly on a cookie sheet or stone pan to prepare for roasting. I drizzled a little olive oil, sprinkled a pinch of sea salt and wih a few cranks of fresh black pepper, popped them into the oven for 20 minutes on low broil.
Roasting is a method that works well with asparagus and broccoli, too, bringing out the natural sweetness, so I took a leap of faith it would do the same for the Fiddleheads.
While the fiddleheads were roasting, I took to the stovetop to prepare a simple piccata sauce, using equal parts olive oil and butter, garlic, fresh lemon juice and capers.
The garlic-lemon combination was a big hit, and my daughter was impressed with the capers, ("nice touch, mom!"). The Fiddleheads were sufficiently roasted and sweet, with my family giving this new recipe thumbs up all around. This dish can be served hot or cool and make a delicious addition to your next barbecue, or simply serve it up for dinner tonight. Enjoy!
Roasted Fiddleheads With Garlic-Lemon Caper Sauce
1 lb fresh fiddleheads, trimmed
6 cups water
1 T salt
1-2 T olive oil
1-2 T unsalted butter
pinch of sea salt and black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. Fresh lemon juice ( juice of 1 1/2 lemons)
1 T capers
* Blanch fiddleheads in salted water for five minutes, transfer to icewater bowl for a few minutes to stop them cooking; drain and pat dry. Spread fiddleheads in a single layer on a stone roasting pan or cookie sheet. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the veggies, and sprinkle with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper. Set oven to low broil, and roast for 15-20 minutes, remove from oven to a plate or platter.
To make the piccata sauce: In a sauté pan, heat equal parts olive oil and butter on medium heat until bubbly, about 2 minutes; add garlic and sauté until soft about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and stir lightly to combine and heated through. Drizzle sauce over fiddleheads and serve.