Jen’s Market Basket: Fiddlehead Ferns

Oh the culinary joys of spring! Along with foraged mushrooms and tender salad greens come fiddlehead ferns. We found some at the Farmer’s Market last Saturday and I scooped up about a quarter pound, plus eight  plump, freshly foraged morel mushrooms.

Fresh fiddleheads

Last night I made a simple soup using two tablespoons of white miso, the rinsed fiddleheads and sliced morels, two cloves of crushed garlic, and a quarter-inch thick slice of fresh ginger that I diced finely. I threw all the ingredients into a small saucepan with about two cups of water and set the brew over medium-low heat for about half an hour. I didn’t even let the broth come to a simmer, keeping it at 150-155 degrees F. The vendor who sold me the fiddleheads and mushrooms said that if you cook the curled spring vegetables at too high of heat for too long they turn bitter. After 30 minutes of being gently warmed, the fiddleheads were still crunchy but cooked, and the morels were tender.

Spring soup of fiddleheads and morels

Anyhoo, the flavor of fiddleheads can be compared to asparagus. Their appearance resembles the scrolled end of a violin or fiddle. You’ll find they contain fiber, iron, potassium, omega-3s and omega-6s. If you can find them during their brief two-to-three-week growing season in the spring, do give them a try.

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