Fiddlehead Ferns & New Potatoes

Fiddlehead Ferns & New Potatoes

FiddleheadsFiddlehead Ferns & New Potatoes

Fiddlehead Ferns are the first tender shoots of the ostrich fern.  They usually come into season during April and May.  The ferns must be picked while their tops are still tightly furled and their season is very short.  Fiddleheads usually have a papery brown skin that protects their green coils.  Rub the brown skin away before rinsing them well.  Choose bright green and firm fiddleheads that shouldn’t be much larger than a quarter.  Trim the stems and then steam or boil them for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain them and serve warm or at room temperature.  Toss with melted butter and lemon. You could also serve them chilled dressed in a light vinaigrette.  Serving fiddleheads will win you big points for creativity.  They taste somewhat like a cross between string beans and asparagus.  They certainly will give a nice accent to a warm salad. You could serve this warm salad with poached salmon or over a bed of tender young greens for a beautiful springtime starter.

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Tiny New Potatoes

2 Cups Fiddlehead Ferns

1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

12 Large Cornichon Pickles

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/2 Cup Chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

1 Chopped Hard-Boiled Egg

Scrub and slice the new potatoes in half.  Rinse the fiddleheads well and trim the stems.  In a large pot pour in 2 cups of water.  Set a large steamer basket inside the pot and fill with the potatoes and fiddlehead ferns.  Bring the water to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cover with a lid.  Steam for about 10 minutes.  You will want the potatoes to be fork tender and the ferns to be bright green and crisp tender.  Remove potatoes and fiddlehead from the steamer and place them in a large serving bowl.  Set aside.  In a blender or food processor combine the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and mustard.  Add about 6 of the cornichons and blend to form a chunky puree.  Add the kosher salt and pepper and give a pulse.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the potatoes and fiddleheads.  Add the chopped parsley and give a good toss.  Thinly slice the remaining cornichons.  Add the chopped hard-boiled egg and the sliced cornichons to the top of the salad.  Serve either warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4

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