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fiddleheads 2010

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Got great fiddlehead (ostrich) ferns at WFM Fresh Pond (Cambridge) yesterday evening and had them for supper. My husbands prepares them with onions, carrots, fresh basil, and a little sea salt and serves with potatoes. Delicious!

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  1. Sounds wonderful! I like the sound of the combination of basil, sea salt and fiddleheads. I love fiddleheads! =)

    I've started to see them reappear on restaurant menus recently too. However, the only disappointing dish in an otherwise outstanding meal at Sportello was the pea risotto with fiddleheads and fava beans. The risotto was too soupy and the fiddleheads were just not good --- tasting bitter and unpleasant. The veal sweetbreads, roast cauliflower, macaroons from the bakery case and a lamb ragu special were all superlative.

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    Sportello
    348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

    1. There's a batch from Russo's in our fridge as I type. Tomorrow evening, they'll be alongside a couple chicken-fried steaks and some mashed potatoes.

      8 Replies
      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        I'd love to try cooking them, as I shop at Russo's often. Stupid question - do you have to wash them or trim them before cooking?

        1. re: y2000k

          The point at which they're trimmed off the plant can get either slimy or dried-out and papery, so you might want to cut those bits off. A pair of kitchen shears works best. After that, we usually steam them, although this year, Allstonian sauteed them in olive oil, garlic and minced shallots as I knocked out a chicken fried steak and some mashed potatoes.

          1. re: y2000k

            And yes, you have to wash them pretty thoroughly. I trim the stem ends with a paring knife, myself.

            1. re: Allstonian

              I've never washed or trimmed or otherwise cleaned any fiddleheads I've ever bought, either from WFM or from Formaggio Kitchen. I find that when they're thrown in a roasting pan with some canola oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, they come out ridiculously good and (watch them!) perfectly cooked. Nothing dry/slimy/gritty to speak of.

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              Formaggio Kitchen
              244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

            2. re: y2000k

              Yes, besides cutting/snapping off the browned part of the stem, definitely swish them in some water for a few minutes to get rid of any dirt that clings to the fern coils.

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                I wash them in a bowl until there is no grit left in the bottom of the bowl and the water is clear. They can be very gritty sometimes.

                My favorite prep is the same as Allstonian. Simple and you really get the taste of the fiddleheads. Now I gotta go get me some!

              2. re: y2000k

                Agreed on trimming the browned stems - I run them under cold water and brush off the little brown bitty leaves that sometimes clings to the sides. You can eat them also...they are soft.

                I parboiled mine for about a minute, then sauteed with olive oil, garlic and lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.

                1. re: y2000k

                  Thank you all! Finally made fiddleheads tonight! Trimmed, washed as directed by you. Then steamed followed by quick saute with garlic, onions & mushrooms. Really lovely!

              3. There's a wonderful simple asparagus recipe in the new Momofuku cookbook that works really nicely with fiddleheads, too.

                - Make "miso butter" by blending butter and sweet white miso (shiro) in equal quantities.
                - Sautee fiddleheads, seasoning with salt until frilly edges are crispy. I blanched them quickly first. You could steam instead.
                - Soften the miso butter and mix in a dash of sherry vinegar. Put a small dollop on a plate, put the fiddleheads on top, and top it with a poached egg & a grind of pepper.

                1. Steamed w/ clams, easy & yum.