Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Fiddleheads sauteed in garlic and oil bring the growth and newness of spring to one’s plate. Springtime in Vermont is something which beckons wonderment and appreciation for warmth and spring. After the 10 or so winter months we go seem to go through, finally getting a bit of sun and warmer air entices you to ditch your gloves and hat and go outside. Foraging for spring edibles is still alive and well in Vermont, and with it comes some unique vegetables. A close friend suggested I come to her house wearing boots appropriate for “mucking around” and we walked her land. Vermont has an extra season; the time between winter and spring (or spring to summer) is a time for the ground to thaw and is often referred to as “mud season.” Fiddleheads are one of our first signs of edible growth.
We chose to do some foraging and during our walk my friend pointed out “Fiddleheads”, packed with chlorophyll and slightly earthyin flavor, these baby ferns stand as a symbol to all living creatures that the ground will thaw and winter is over. Fiddleheads are coils, or furled fronds, of baby ferns. In this state they are a vegetable. Each coil will grow into its own frond (fern leaf). I learned to only pick the newest growths, closest to the ground. The fiddleheads must be very tightly coiled with a short stem. They are abundant and can be found on just about any side road, dirt road or path.
I came home, wash the fiddleheads and chose to apply a simple age old technique: sauté them in garlic and oil. Because they are quite hardy I chose to include the use of some lemon juice, to help soften the fibers a bit. I found them quite delicious; I hope you do as well.
1 – 1 ½ cups cleaned and trimmed Fiddleheads
2 cloves finely chopped Garlic
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
(Optional) Crushed Red Pepper to taste
Shorten the stems of the Fiddleheads to just below the coil. Wash thoroughly, remove soft brown skins, do not dry. Place aside. Finely chop the garlic and set aside.
Sauté the garlic in oil until limp and just golden, add the fiddleheads, followed by the lemon juice. Toss all in the pan, cover with lid slightly ajar and place heat on low. Cook for about 7 – 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and optional crushed red pepper and serve.
Pictured with the addition of a few sprigs of lemon thyme
“Fiddleheads Sautéed with Garlic & Oil” by Liz Conforti, Forget What You Know About Wheat(c) 2014
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