When I was a kid, fiddleheads were something that came pickled in a jar that my dad would eat and I would watch, frightened. They were up there with capers for me, veggies that come from mysterious and unknown places preserved in pickling liquid. As an adult wandering the woods of BC, imagine my surprise to discover these green bundles on my walks and realize, wow, that is what those are?! Unfurled fronds? Cool!
Still, until last week, I had never eaten a fiddlehead in my life. After hearing about the crazy amount of health benefits (they have double the amount of antioxidants than blueberries) of fiddleheads on the CBC, I asked my Facebook foodie friends if they liked them. I was shocked to discover many people did not just like them, they loved them! I was surprised and realized I had been missing out. Thanks go out especially to my dear friend Kenora who helped me learn the basics of cooking fiddleheads.
Apparently the key is making sure the fiddleheads are clean. I filled a deep-ish bowl with water and added the fiddleheads and swished them around to let any grit fall to the bottom of the bowl. I did this three times as well massaging the centers a little too. I trimmed the ends and they were ready to cook. Seriously, no big deal.
I got out a little saucepan and added some water, the steamer and then the fiddleheads. I covered the pot, brought to a boil, reduced the heat a little and steamed for ten minutes.
I removed the basket, dumped out the water, put the fiddleheads back into the pot and added some butter, salt and pepper.
This made the perfect side dish to my goat cheese and sundried tomato omelette. When I went to taste the first one, I will admit, I was afraid. I thought the texture was going to be weird, the flavour unpleasant and was I ever surprised! It tasted like green beans to me. Spirally green beans.
That was what I was afraid of?! Good grief! So silly!
I bought one serving of fiddleheads for less than a buck. Considering they are not in season for very long and are a nutritional powerhouse, this week I went back for more. I am tired of missing out and am so glad that people encouraged me to try fiddleheads and help me realize that they really are food.
I am not afraid of them but I have never made artichokes before. The first time I saw them on a plate for a meal I thought it was a joke. I thought to myself, who eats pinecones?!
Are there food fears that you still have?