Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fiddlehead Omelette

I was shopping at the Farmer's Market when I spotted fiddleheads. I've often heard of fiddleheads but had never tried them. I was familiar enough with them to know that they are in season for a very short time so I decided to buy a small bunch. I felt slightly apprehensive not knowing what to do with them so I turned to and found a recipe for Fiddlehead Omelette from Ricardo Larrivée. I like Ricardo and not just because he's Québécois!

I also took the opportunity to read up on fiddleheads. Fiddlehead ferns "refer to the unfurled fronds of a young fern harvested for food consumption". I really like their bright green colour and spiral shape. They are a traditional dish in Québec and the Maritimes in Canada, and in New England in the U.S. I assume they also grow in Ontario. They cannot be eaten raw to remove shikimic acid, which is poisonous. It is also suggested to cook them twice to remove their bitterness.

Fiddlehead Omelette - Serves 4
Adapted from Ricardo and Friends. I reduced the recipe to one serving for a light lunch for myself and skipped the bacon.

* a handful of fiddleheads, cleaned and cooked
* olive oil
* ¼ small onion, finely chopped
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 tbsp half-and-half cream (10 per cent) or milk
* some finely chopped fresh chives
* grated Asiago cheese (that's what I had on hand, the original recipe calls for Gruyère)

First, wash the fiddleheads and remove the brown scale - I just soaked them in water for a bit.
Blanch the fiddleheads for 2 minutes in salted water.
Drain and rinse in cold water.
Meanwhile, heat up some oil and fry onion and cook until softened.
Add the fiddleheads and cook a couple of minutes. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the eggs, cream and garlic chives.
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat up some oil and pour the egg mixture.
Cook over medium heat and puncture the bottom of the omelette with a spatula to facilitate cooking.
When the edge of the omelette is almost cooked, but not the center, put the fiddlehead filling on one side and the cheese on the other side of the omelette.
Using a spatula, fold the omelette.

Stir frying the fiddleheads and adding them to an omelette.

How to describe the taste of fiddleheads? I would say it's more about texture since I thought it tasted pretty mild, slightly earthy. The taste reminded me of eating greens but with a more crunchy texture. I'll have to give it another try if they are still in season!

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