Edible spring greens are plentiful in my garden with all this rain and heat. Our garden has been bursting with spinach, kale, lots of herbs like chives, lovage, sorrel. Every day is a fresh salad day with clippings from whatever is growing. Salad dressing is simple with oil, lemon juice and salt. I can’t get enough!
Fiddleheads, like wild leeks are just about passed here in this part of Ontario. We have a few left on our website for sale still and they are a lovely addition to whatever you might have on the grill. Fiddleheads are the part of the young fern that is curled up before it grows into its full height. It is picked early and used as a vegetable. I like them sautéed in a pan and eaten at room temperature – along side whatever I might have cooking that day or even from breakfast with an omelette.
Sorrel leaves have a sour/lemony taste. I use a small amount in a sauce with fish or asparagus just after it is cooked and the steam from cooking wilts the leaves. Add sorrel to a salad raw, coarsely chopped, or to a spring vegetable you have steamed or pan fried. You can also add the leaves to a soup or yogurt sauce. Think of the leaves like a larger herb. A little goes a long way.
Fiddleheads are easy to prepare and cook needing a good wash, an optional blanche, and a hot, quick sauté brings out their best flavour.
½ lb – 1 lb of fiddleheads
2 tsp butter or vegetable oil
1 tsp coarse salt
1 large clove garlic sliced
1 bunch chives finely chopped
1 bunch sorrel leaves
Rinse the fiddleheads under cold water and clip the stem ends of the ferns. Bring a large pot of salted water – about 8 cups – to a boil and blanche the fiddleheads for 1 minute and rinse under cold water. This can be done in advance and leave in the refrigerator for several hours. I like to do this step but it’s not necessary. I blanche them to rid any sand and also to make sure they are fully cooked and the sauté process is not as long. Dry the fiddleheads on a towel before putting into the hot pan.
Heat a sauce pan on medium high heat and add the oil or butter. Add the fiddleheads and move them quickly about the pan for about 5 minutes. Take a few minutes longer if you have not blanched them before to make sure they are fully cooked – about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Remove from heat and add the chopped chives and sorrel leaves. Sprinkle with salt and serve. For added zest, squeeze a wedge of lemon over top just as you serve them.