Monday, May 11, 2009

It Pays to Ask

Around this time last year foodblogs galore teased me with posts about fiddleheads, but in spite of scouring my local farmer's market, I couldn't find any.

This year I asked. I'm so glad I did.



The lady I spoke with said she knew someone who might have them. The following week she telephoned me to say that she was able to get them. I bought a pound.

Fiddleheads are young ferns that are edible when young, though this wikipedia article indicates past cases of food poisining as a result of consuming them in New York state. It also suggests cooking them the same way old-timers say all wild greens should be cooked: boiled twice, water changed discarded in-between. Hmm. Maybe I should have read first.

Personally I just love the name. Fiddleheads. Probably because it resembles the business end of a violin. Did I ever tell you I played violin in school? Yep. I was concert master in my high school orchestra. Haven't played since.



Anyhoo, I acquired this pound of fiddleheads, got them cleaned up and braised them with cut-up ham and shallots in a cup of chicken broth.

They were, well, how do I put this? They're not quite to my taste. They're very green tasting. Asparagus certainly comes to mind, in a way. I tried them before they were very soft and didn't like the taste at all. Cooked to fork-tender, they were better. Still, it wasn't really something I enjoyed. It was more for the experiment factor. And now that I've tried them, I can be satisfied with that.

The take-home message, though, is that even if you don't see something at the farmer's market doesn't mean it's impossible to get. Ask. You'll be surprised. I was.

10 comments:

SarahKate said...

That is so cool! I just ordered a book about "free food" or food that is growing locally here in England that can be collected in the wild and cooked. I am so excited about it. My husband thinks I'm crazy!

Amanda said...

I don't think that's crazy at all! Recently while driving my husband to his office I saw a huge field of young dandelions and said, "Wow, I could go greens-picking all day right there!"

Grace said...

well, now i have to add fiddlehead ferns to my list of things to try. farmers' markets rock. :)

Amanda said...

I hope you can get your hands on some, Grace--I know you'll find wonderful things to do with them!

Sam said...

I'm always up for trying something new, these sound really interesting. I love the name too!

Amanda said...

Sam, I knew you would be! They do sound so... rustic, don't they? Fiddleheads...

I bet they'd be super-tasty with some of that home-cured bacon! Mmm...

Sara said...

Now I'm jealous of your produce! I saw fiddleheads the other day, but they were $20/lb!

Amanda said...

$20/lb??? That's outrageous, Sara! I thought $5 for the pound was high.

Hippolyra said...

I would love to find fiddleheads but have never seen them in the Uk sadly.

they look lovely - I always get a yearning for them when reading about them every spring.

Amanda said...

Hi, Hippolyra! That's strange that you can't find them... you'll have to ask around. I know I've seen them featured on English foodblogs!

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