Thursday, May 8, 2008
From the time the primordial forests when ferns there dominated the land existed a nibble for early man that still celebrates the season of spring. The fiddlehead ferns that are starting to flood the market are the nascent fronds of the ostrich fern, and are available for but few a few fleeting moments. They bring me joy on the plate for nature has given us nautilus shaped vegetable that is crisp, green and easily a showstopper.
They are slightly high maintenance in so far as they should be well washed to rid it of any dirt and browned leaves. Then they need to be blanched before being subsequently employed. One can simply sauté them in some olive with garlic and a pinch of chili flakes for a few minutes to more adventurous batter-dipped then fried.
You should dare yourself to bring home these gems while they are being offered, and channel your primal-self.
Fiddelhead Fern Frittata – yields 6 servings
1/4-pound fernhead ferns
4 whole eggs
1/4-cup sour cream
2-tablespoons thyme leaves – chopped
Few dashes of hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-cup grated Parmesan, Asiago or Manchego cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash the fiddlehead ferns well in a few changes of water – gently rubbing them to dislodge any brown leaves.
Blanch the fiddlehead ferns in boiling water for three minutes. Drain and run under cold water.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a work bowl beat the eggs, sour cream, hot sauce, salt and pepper together until completely combined.
Heat an eight-inch cast iron skillet over a high heat, and add the oil and blanched fiddlehead ferns. Sauté for a few minutes, and then pour the egg mixture over the fiddlehead ferns. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs, and let the eggs cook until the edges start to set. Then put the pan in the oven, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the frittata rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.