Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remembering Spring pt. 1



The reason there's so much melancholy poetry is that when people are having fun, they don't bother to stop and write about it. Likewise, when food finally began to shoulder up out of winter's grasp in New England, I was too busy finding and cooking it to chronicle it. Which is a shame, because fiddleheads merit discussion. When I was a kid my mom's agrarian spidey-sense would go off at a certain point in the springtime. For the next two weeks we'd collect these nasty-looking baby fern things from the roadside. Childhood revulsion grew into respect and eventually anticipation, and this year I didn't have to buy them from Whole Foods. Fiddlehead season found me back in Maine, and Mom and I put our heads together to track down a local supply. I ended up pulling the car into a gravel swath where a pickup was parked with a cardboard sign: "Fiddleheads 3.00/lb". Two guys, two five-gallon buckets, lots of fiddleheads. Conversation was discouraged, but then they probably noticed my out-of-state plates.

Fiddleheads' character doesn't lend itself to mingling with other flavors, and their limited availability makes me want to enjoy them straight-up while I can. These were lightly sauteed with a bit of garlic and red onion. The idea is to get them just soft enough to eat without reducing them to a spinachy mess. These were fantastic. A little grassy, kind of an asparagus character, and a strong pond flavor that reminds me of watercress. We had plans to freeze them for later in the year, but we went through two pounds in a few days, and that was that.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

7 comments:

Jay said...

I'm confused. By "picked up at roadside," do you mean your mother pulled over, ran into the bushes and started pulling plants or that she bought them on the side of the road? One is much more interesting than the other.

Brendan said...

The former. My parents were amongst the back-to-the-land movement, and Mom was not shy about pulling over to snip things out of a ditch that she could use. I remember driving a few hours just so she could pick some wild plants for her water garden.

Aaron Kagan said...

Love that pond flavor. Anyone know what variety of fern these hail from? Would like to learn to spot it for myself.

Paula said...

Fiddleheads are Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
I have some links to more info in this post.
http://tapestry.typepad.com/a_mingling_of_threads/2008/06/fiddling-for-supper.html

Fiddleheads are very common here, they are sold in regular grocery stores, as well as the farmers markets, and roadside stands. The fiddlehead season is about 2 weeks than they are gone until next year.

Aaron Kagan said...

Perfect! Thanks, Paula.

Anonymous said...

burberry outlet
nike air max 90
kevin durant shoes
air max 2015
michael kors outlet
uggs on sale
moncler outlet
air max 90
uggs for sale
joe new balance outlet
nike air max 2014
cheap beats by dre
jimmy choo shoes
ugg black friday
canada goose jackets on sale
woolrich outlet
nike shoes
louis vuitton outlet sale
nike roshe run
moncler outlet
ugg boots sale
nike shoes
moncler outlet
fendi bags
ugg boots outlet
north face jackets
uggs on sale
ray ban sunglasses
air max
gucci handbags

Anonymous said...

clarks shoes
pandora charms
nike shox clearance
nike shox
cheap nike shoes
nike outlet
cheap ugg boots for sale
cheap ugg boots
pandora jewelry
michael kors outlet online
uggs outlet
burberry outlet
nike air max 90
kevin durant shoes
air max 2015
michael kors outlet
uggs on sale
moncler outlet
air max 90
uggs for sale
joe new balance outlet
nike air max 2014
cheap beats by dre
jimmy choo shoes
ugg black friday
canada goose jackets on sale
woolrich outlet
nike shoes