Copyright 2009, Maria Liberati
Spring is a time for renewal, fresh air and growth. Watching the trees bloom and tulips blossom stirs excitement in people after a dormant winter. For some, spring also opens the doors to fiddlehead season. These tightly coiled baby ferns are the first wild food of the season available for harvesting, and they make a lovely addition to an y spring meal.
Fiddleheads grow throughout the United States and Canada, but also in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and New Zealand. Although these fabulous little greens come from a variety of fern types, North Americans are best to stick to ostrich ferns for their fiddleheads. Some ferns are actually unhealthy to ingest; others are downright toxic. So it’s highly recommended that you know what kind of ferns you have in your area before you go hunting these tasty green shoots in spring.
When picking fiddleheads, go to an ostrich fern patch and look for tightly wrapped, bright green little heads. As the name suggests, they resemble the head of a fiddle-a stem leading up to the coiled baby fern. They’ll be poking out of the ground where last year’s ferns have keeled over. If they have unfurled to the point you can see the fern opening up in all its glory, then leave it be; it’s no longer an edible fiddlehead.
After gathering several handfuls of fiddleheads, rinse them well and be sure to remove the thin brown skin on them. They have a flavor similar to that of a blend of spinach and asparagus. They are versatile-you can toss them into a stir-fry, steam or boil them, or sauté them with some olive oil and garlic. If you are lucky enough to be overrun with fiddleheads, you can blanch and freeze them for later.
And as you can see from the photo above they are also great sauteed with fresh scallops.
The ideal way to usher in the spring is to hike out to your local fern patch and search through last year’s fallen leaves for those tender little fiddleheads. Then fire up the barbecue and serve a side of the first fresh harvest of the season.
If you are a garden fanatic or want to start to plant your own, here is a gret event coming up for those who will be in the Philadelphia, Pa area on May 8th and 9th
If you are a gardening enthusiast or don’t know where to begin, here is a great event coming up on May 8-9 in the Philadelphia, Pa area http://www.burpee.com/contentarticle.do?itemID=100125
And keep in your thoughts and prayers all those who lost their loved ones as well as those that lost their houses and belongings and are now living in tent camps because of the devastating earthquake in the city of L’Aquila. Madonna, whose family originated from Abruzzo is donating a large amount of money to help the region so a special ‘mille grazie’ goes out to her.
And you can find out how to help out at http://www.italianamericanmuseum.org
Join me on May 2nd at:
*Whole Foods Market, Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa for a book signing 1-3 PM.
* 8 -11 PM-Book signing/wine sampling at Raya Coiffure/boutique for their Luxurious Grand Opening Celebration that will include a wine sampling by Terranova Wines http://www.terranovawines.comand a fashion show by Sonia Rykiel. Event is at 25 Haverford Station Rd, Haverford, Pa. Call to RSVP at 215-478-1341
May 3rd, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking School at the Great Grapes Festival from 3-4 PM go to http://www.uncorkthefun.comMay 7th-Book signing and food sampling at Whole Foods Market, 5269 River Road, Bethesda, Maryland
Get your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at http://www.marialiberati.com
Join me for a 7 day culinary experience in Italy
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