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fiddleheads and baby gnocchi

fiddleheads & baby gnocchiFiddleheads are the unfurled fronds of a young fern and are collected in the wild before the frond has opened.   A spring-time vegetable, you’ll find them in food shops and outdoor markets.  They are called fiddleheads because they resemble the curled end of a stringed instrument such as a fiddle.  If you’re from the Maritimes you might think we’re the only ones who like ’em but that’s a misconception.  While North American Indians were eating fiddleheads long before the arrival of the first Europeans, the Australian and New Zealand aborigines and the Japanese are very fond of fiddleheads. In Indonesia, fiddleheads are cooked in a rich coconut sauce spiced with chilies, galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, and other spices.

If fiddleheads are available in your area, I encourage you to try them.  Their taste can be similar to that of an asparagus and I have heard some say they’re like a green bean but I wouldn’t go that far.  You can use them just like you would asparagus or green beans which means perfect in stir-fries, in a salad, quiches, omelets or with pasta.  Blanch or steam them until tender-crisp.  Baby gnocchi is the perfect size for fiddleheads.  I love the flavors in this dish and hope you do, too.

Serves 2

250g baby gnocchi
1/2 cup butter
splash olive oil
2 handfuls of fiddleheads
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 strips of cooked bacon, chopped
small handful mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Parmesan cheese, grated

Place fiddleheads in a large bowl of water. Use your hands to swish the water around to remove any dirt and remove any brown fuzzy bits – you may want to repeat this process. Strain and remove fiddleheads. Trim any ends that look discolored. Place in a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Strain and place in an ice bath to halt the cooking process. When ready to use, strain again.

fiddleheadsCook gnocchi according to packet instructions (reserve cooking liquid). In a sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat along with a good splash of olive oil. Add garlic and mustard. Stir to combine. Toss in strained fiddleheads and cook until heated through. Add gnocchi, bacon, capers, and stir to combine. You may need to add a tablespoon or so of the cooking liquid from the gnocchi. Add a tablespoon of butter to help loosen the sauce (just enough to coat the ingredients).  Add a small handful of Parmesan and toss to combine. Serve immediately with chopped mint and Parmesan.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Fiddleheads freeze well.  Clean and wash thoroughly then boil in water for two minutes. Drain and let cool. Pack in freezer bags and store up to one year.  Enjoy!

fiddleheads and baby gnocchi
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fiddleheads are the unfurled fronds of a young fern and are collected in the wild before the frond has opened. A spring-time vegetable, you’ll find them in food shops and outdoor markets. They are called fiddleheads because they resemble the curled end of a stringed instrument such as a fiddle.
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 250g baby gnocchi
  • ½ cup butter
  • splash olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of fiddleheads
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 2 strips of cooked bacon, chopped
  • small handful mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Place fiddleheads in a large bowl of water. Use your hand swish the water around to remove any bits of dirt and remove any brown fuzzy bits – you may want to repeat this process. Strain and remove fiddleheads. Trim any ends that look discolored.
  2. Place in a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Strain and place in an ice bath to halt the cooking process. When ready to use, strain again.
  3. Cook gnocchi according to packet instructions (reserve cooking liquid). In a sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat along with a good splash of olive oil. Add garlic and mustard. Stir to combine. Toss in strained fiddleheads and cook until heated through. Add gnocchi, bacon, capers, and stir to combine. You may need to add a tablespoon or so of the cooking liquid from the gnocchi. Add a tablespoon of butter to help loosen the sauce (just enough to coat the ingredients). Add a small handful of Parmesan and toss to combine. Serve immediately with chopped mint and Parmesan.
Notes
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Fiddleheads freeze well. Clean and wash thoroughly then boil in water for two minutes. Drain and let cool. Pack in freezer bags and store up to one year. Enjoy!

 

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