In the Shape of Violins: Sautéd Fiddleheads

When I first heard the translation for fiddleheads it didn’t click. Tetes de Violons – “heads of violins”. To me a fiddle has never meant a violin. One plays Bach and the other plays gigs and reels. But when it comes to the dirty, toxin-bearing vegetable, it’s all the same. You can’t eat these raw. They’re usually cooked twice (boiled and then boiled again or sautéed or braised) or just steamed for a long time. Feel free to make half the recipe, but leftover, slime-y fiddleheads make a great snack with a little vinaigrette or dip, or even just olive oil or balsamic (or other) vinegar. The trick is giving them a good wash and cut off the brown ends just before you cook them. Fiddelheads


2 lbs fiddleheads

1 tbsp olive oil (or sunflower oil or other flavoured oil that can be heated over medium heat, or a mix of oil and butter)

1/4 tsp salt

Directions: In a large bowl of cold water soak the fiddleheads to remove the grit.

Trim the ends (like green beans. This takes awhile, but is worth it)

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the fiddleheads for 5 minutes (add a 1/2 tsp of salt to the water if you want).

Drain the pot and either run the fiddleheads under cold water until they’re cool to the touch or place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and brighten the colour. Drain the fiddleheads.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the fiddleheads. Add 1/2 tsp salt and stir and cook until coated and tender (about 3-5 minutes). If the fiddleheads aren’t tender after 5 minutes and they’re starting to stick to the pan, add a tbsp of water. Or 2. Or some butter. Mmm…

Serve as a side dish, as an appetizer, or in a green salad with tomatoes and peppers, a flavourful oil (walnut, hazelnut, olive) and vinegar or lemon juice.


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