You know how a few childhood memories become so indelible that they just stick with you for the rest of your life? One of those memories for me is of fiddlehead ferns. We were on a family vacation in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (great vacation destination, by the way!) and were strolling through the farmer’s market. I was about ten years old and one of the farmers ‘gifted’ me with a sample of a fiddlehead fern to try. I remember taking a small bite and finding it so bitter that I couldn’t be polite and just spit it out right in front of him! (Hopefully, being a kid, he cut me some slack.)
I had never seen or heard of a fiddlehead since that fateful day and, quite frankly, wasn’t the least bit bothered by that.
Two weeks ago, I was doing the grocery shopping at Whole Foods and saw fiddlehead ferns in the produce section for the first time since that questionable Canadian adventure. Needless to say, I walked right by and didn’t give them another thought except to think to myself “Yuck!”….until I got home.
There on my Facebook news was a post from my brother-in-law that he had fiddlehead ferns! I couldn’t tell from the post if his was a statement of excitement or disgust so I asked. He hadn’t cooked them up yet but was planning to grill them that evening. That was just the impetus I needed to give fiddleheads another try.
Back to Whole Foods….
We blanched them in some boiling salt water for a minute or so and then sautéed them with some fresh garlic and olive oil. They were actually good! I wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire them as a springtime delicacy but I will no longer avoid them if they cross my path again some day. As the clean plate demonstrates, they are no longer a “yuck” in my book!