Monday, June 25, 2007

Final Fiddleheads

Don't be sad. The last fiddleheads of the season have been cooked and eaten. No more for another 48 weeks (until Chile figures out how to ship theirs north). Instead, remember that the end of fiddleheads is the beginning of strawberries. Go wild.

In anticipation of that magical day in May 2008 when the first fiddleheads are harvested, here is one way I like them.

Serves 4.

16 oz fresh fiddleheads, trimmed and washed
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
brown sugar to taste

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Carefully add salt. Add fiddleheads all at once. Cover and cook for 6 minutes.

2. When fiddleheads are tender but still bright green and with some tooth resistance ("al dente") -- the water will look like strong, black tea -- drain them. Plunge them into a bowl of ice water. When they are thoroughly chilled after about 10 minutes, drain fiddleheads and spread on towel to dry. Use paper towel to blot excess moisture.

3. Heat olive oil in saute pan or skillet. When shimmering and fragrant, add fiddleheads and toss gently. Cover for one minute until they are hot. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and sugar to taste. Serve immediately.

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container. They're good chilled, too.

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