Fit as a fiddle – fiddleheads – Cape Elisabeth – Maine

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As I had never seen these before, I was taking photographs of them with the enthusiasm and fervour paparazzi usually reserve for shots of Kate Moss naked. I guess it was for this reason, that the lady working on the farm stand came over to ask me why I was so fascinated. I said “I’ve never seen these before!” –  she was surprised. In addition I didn’t know at the time, but the night before I had eaten something in a restaurant and it reminded me of okra, but it was too firm and crisp to be okra, but a bit slimy as well, which is why I thought, hm okra. Seeing fiddlehead fern I realised,that’s what it was. Pretty name, pretty plant, did I know you could eat the fiddleheads? No I did not. I didn’t even know that you can eat the ferns in Switzerland, although if Wikipedia is to be believed, edible ferns span the globe. Who knew?

DSC_7408I do know they are very, very pretty.

DSC_7407And also really rather tasty

DSC_7409I discovered them at Jordan’s farm, I mentioned the farm in an earlier post, we went there in search of perfect farm to table cuisine. Instead we found the fiddlehead fern, I bought some in brine, I will serve them to Nonna di Giulia. who has made me many wonderful things down south, and introduced me to fun stuff such as samphire foraged from close to her home. I like the idea of introducing her to fiddlehead ferns foraged a continent away and preserved by intrepid women who know their kitchens as does the Nonna di Giulia.

I spent a lot of time talking to Mrs Jordan – at some point a fellow customer interrupted, he wanted to buy some fiddleheads, he also shared his recipe, he puts them uncooked into salads, or his favourite recipe: dip the fiddlehead fern heads in egg wash (remove the stalk) coat in bread crumbs and fry – crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, he sounded very happy. Sadly as I was on holiday I was not able to buy lots of ferns to experiment in my kitchen. However, I am bringing this offering as a party topic to Fiesta Friday – I’d love to know if anyone has made these before?

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16 thoughts on “Fit as a fiddle – fiddleheads – Cape Elisabeth – Maine

  1. You are so right – they are pretty and very edible. When we lived in the country I always wanted to make something with them but never did. Thanks for bringing some beautiful pictures of fiddlehead ferns to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. I like the idea of frying them 🙂

    • Thanks Margot – I am hopeless that way…I brought a 1.5 liter bottle of sparkling wine from Germany to the US in my suitcase for my friend, with german roots, who got married….it’s an effort but I love to share things with friends and loved ones

  2. Ooh I’ve never seen or heard of these before! That man’s recipe for frying them sounds awesome though, definitely something I’d want to try if I ever got my hands on some!
    I’m so glad you shared this discovery with us at Fiesta Friday! 😀

  3. Heard of them, but never tasted them– do they taste at all like asparagus (that’s what I’m imagining.) because I don’t think I’d like them if they were as gummy as okra. Pretty pictures Poli!!

  4. I’m so glad you were able to try fiddleheads! They are definitely a welcome sign of spring when they start making their appearances in the markets of New England, it’s too bad they are only available for a short time. I soak them in water to rub their brown papery covers off, then boil them in salted water for 5 minutes or so. After that, it’s a quick sauté in butter or extra virgin olive oil and a toss with linguine, squeeze of lemon, grating of parmesan, salt and pepper. If I’m feeling really “springy” I’ll also add dandelion greens. Yum! 🙂

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