Must Make Fiddlehead Ferns, Chinese Restaurant Style


Spring Fiddleheads, Chinese Restaurant Style


Fiddlehead ferns are a healthy and sustainable spring foragers Delight! Photo by Edible Communities
Fiddlehead ferns are one of those wild greens that are only available in spring. One the cured head has opened up, they are no longer edible. They taste a bot like asparagus but much "greener". They NEED to be cooked, and cooked well to be safe to eat. I good 7-9 minute blanch does the trick. 
Please read this info on the safety of fiddleheads.
I was introduced to Fiddleheads back in the 1980's when I worked Harvest in Cambridge, Ma. That is when I also got to know ramps.  Wild foods and I go WAY BACK!

Fiddleheads are delicious if cooked like asparagus with butter and lemon and also are great Italian style with olive oil, garlic, maybe a few capers and parsley. However, this Chinese take on them is my fave. 

Thanks to my pal Paul Wesselman for bringing a batch to me. 

Chinese Restaurant Style Fiddleheads with Garlic and Ginger.

Ingredients
1 pound of fiddleheads, Prepared by washing and par boiling (see below)
2 scallios, cut into 1/4 inch pieces. green and white parts
2 tbls neutral oil - I like grapeseed and sunflower
2 tbls finely ground garlic
1 tbls finely minced ginger
1 dry hot chile or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbls tamari or soy sauce
2 tbls Chinese cooking wine or sherry
1 tbsl rice wine or white vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp gochujang paste, or substitute Sri Racha or Ketchup if you are a wimp (optional) 
few drops sesame oil


Pick through your fiddleheads, trimming any dark brown ends.
Submerge in a bowl of cold water and mix around to clean. Allow to soak for 5 minutes to allow sand to drop to the bottom of the bowl. 

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.
A good cleaning and an 8 minute boil is ESSENTIAL for safety

  1. Cook the fiddleheads for 7-9 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. If using later plunge into ice water, if cooking right away don't worry about that, just strain them and run tap water on them. 
  2. Mix the stock, tamari, cooking wine, vinegar, cornstarch and gochujang or sriracha until the cornstarch is emulsified and isn't lumpy.
  3. Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. 
  4. Add the oil. When it shimmers (about 5 seconds) add the garlic, ginger, dry chile and scallions and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the ginger is fragrant. 
  5. Add the fiddleheads and stir fry one minute, coating the fiddleheads with contents of the wok.  Stir the broth mixture and swirl it into the wok. Stir-fry 1 minute or until the sauce has thickened slightly and lightly coats the vegetables.
  6. Drizzle with a few drops of sesame oil and serve.
  7. These are great over rice, over cooked noodles or as a side to whatever is the main course. 
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