Today we’re looking at a little more of an experiment. I’m not sure if any of you know what this vegetable called fiddleheads are. This is what it looks like.
I’ve personally never tasted it but this cookbook that bought about Quebec foods and recipes featured fiddleheads as a spring harvest in our lovely province of Quebec. What better time to give this a try while its late spring although I am still a tad late when its one of the earliest harvests. Before we move one, let me tell you what fiddleheads are. They are foraged in Quebec woods from shoots of the ostrich fern in early-May. I’m not sure what it’ll taste like but that is why we are here.
From the recipe in Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong, here is our take on Fiddlehead Omelette.
2 cups fresh fiddleheads
3 tbsps olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp verjus, cider vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp whipping cream or whole milk
Salt and freshly ground epper
1 cup shredded Le Marechal, Comte, or aged cheddar cheese
- Put fiddleheads in a large resealable plastic bag, add cold water to cover, close and shake to clean off the brown husks and any dirt from the fiddleheads. With your hands, pick out the fiddleheads and place in a bowl. Discard water in the bag. Repeat the washing process with clean water at least once more, until water in the bag is clear. Drain and dry fiddleheads with towels. Cut tail ends off fiddleheads.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add fiddleheads and boil for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and shallot until softened and lightly colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Add fiddleheads and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Drizzle with verjus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In an 8 inch heavy omelette pan or nonstick frying pan, melt butter over low heat. In a bowl, whisk eggs with cream. Add pinches of salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into the heated pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan to distribute the egg mixture. While the omelette is still fairly moist, spread choose and fiddleheads in the centre of the egg mixture. Continue cooking for another minute. When the cheese starts to melt, fold half the omelette over itself and tip out onto a warmed serving plate.
Before we talk about the taste of fiddleheads and how our omelette turned out, I think we need to look at the process a little. Making fiddleheads is not incredibly time consuming but it does take a tad more prep time. It could be because I was being overly cautious about how clean it was so I did put it in the large resealable plastic bag and cleaned with water. Its a refreshing way to clean vegetables to say the least but to get clear water, I did it for 4-5 times.
There were some changes to the recipes:
- Shallots were omitted. We just didn’t have any.
- We used normal balsamic vinegar and not white
- Cheese was replaced to lactose-free cheese
Fiddleheads taste a little like spinach. I was searching for that taste that it had. It is also one that some might not like, but I did. My guess is that if it was overcooked and mushy, it wouldn’t have the enjoyment of its slightly crunchier texture. Except crunchy isn’t even the way to describe it because you might think its raw when it isn’t. Although we did veer off from the recipe a little, it turned out pretty well. The thought process behind it is that we are trying something new so omelettes seemed like the way to go.
A little additional fact if you want to give this a go, according to the book, fiddleheads are actually quite easy to make. They make the comparison of cooking it like asparagus where you really can just use butter for flavoring. Its flavor will be enough to make it savoury. The two ways they suggest is to boil for 6 to 10 minutes until crisp-tender (there’s the word for the texture) or steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Just a little side tip for all of you.
I’ve been rummaging in Made For Quebec these days, so expect some more recipes inspired from there soon. Possible something to do with strawberries and rhubarb since now is the harvest season for them and I have made my first harvest. 🙂
Have you tried fiddleheads before? Do you cook them? How do you make it? If not, what are some local Spring produce in your area?