Sometime around mid-late April, the fronds of the Wild Ostrich Fern start to unfurl from beneath swamps, marshes and forests around New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec and make their way into the hands of keen foragers. The fiddlehead, which gets it’s name from its resemblance to the head of a fiddle, has a short but sweet harvest season and to make the most of it you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled and grab them as soon as you see them.
Prized for their mild flavour (think; grassy, earthy and slightly sweet) and stunning coiled appearance, fiddleheads are versatile and delicious cooked in so many ways. I tend to keep things simple so as not to take away from their unique and gentle flavour but if you’re feeling adventurous, these little guys can stand up to some big flavours, too. Try them on a barbecued pizza with spicy garlic oil, buffalo mozzarella and basil or tossed with a short grain pasta, light pomodoro sauce and a soft boiled egg on top. They bring a lovely freshness to most dishes and would make an equally delicious pesto blended up with some mint/olive oil/pine nuts and feta cheese. Many compare the flavour to asparagus so try swapping your favourite asparagus dish with fiddleheads for something new and adventurous. These coiled little beauties don’t mess around when it comes to nutrition either – with twice as many antioxidants as bluberries, tons of fiber and a vegetarian source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, they are a superfood powerhouse.
Note: Fiddleheads are grown in the wild and carry a risk of contamination if not cooked properly. Always blanch or steam your cleaned fiddleheads for at least 10-12 minutes before eating. Once cooked, they can then be sauteed, fried, pureed or eating just like that with a bit of salt and olive oil.
This new series of posts, titled “In Season”, is in partnership with Loblaws Ontario and hopes to bring awareness to seasonal produce with limited availability. We’re aiming to show you how to cook these items, what makes them so good (and good for you) and why you’re going to want to run out and stock up ASAP. As part of the series, you’ll be invited to take part in their Instagram Contest each month in hopes of winning your next grocery shop (up to $250).
The rules are simple:
- Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram (please ensure that your Instagram account is public)
- Upload an original picture to your Instagram page highlighting the monthly Food Alert Item
- Include the campaign hashtags #WeLoveFood and #ShareTheFoodLove
The only thing better than coming home with a bag filled with colourful, seasonal produce is not having to pay for it! Good luck to all who enter.
Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil
serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed of tough ends
2 tbsp olive oil
Chili-Herb Oil, recipe to follow below
1/4 cup chevre
Preheat oven to 400.
Toss tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and add to a baking sheet/pan with the garlic. Cook until tomatoes soften and burst, releasing some of their juices, approximately 20-30 minutes. Give the pan a good toss to make sure all that delicious garlic juice coats the tomatoes.
While tomatoes roast, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in your trimmed/cleaned fiddeheads and turn down to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes then strain. Add the oil to a sautee pan over medium heat. Add the fiddleheads and let fry on both sides until starting to brown, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a serving bowl, add a few spoonfuls of fiddleheads, a few tomatoes, some crumbled chevre and a drizzle of your chili-herb oil.
Chili Herb Oil
makes approx 1 cup
1/4 cup loosely packed basil
1/4 cup loosely packed Italian parsley
2 tbsp chopped chives
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup good quality olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until herbs are broken down. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post put on by Loblaws Ontario. I was compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers.