Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greek Inspired Fiddlehead Fern Salad

I grew up in rural Connecticut where the floor of the lush woods is covered with healthful vegetation untouched by chemicals or pesticides.  My parents planted garden both floral and vegetable in the very fertile soil; if you plant it-it will grow.  My father would go hunting and fishing with the neighborhood fellow and would bring back interesting and new things for us to try.  One time he actually brought back a squirrel, for some reason that's not nearly as odd as, my mother actually cooked it up for dinner. 

No worries this post is not about wild woodland creatures big or small.  It's about Fiddlehead ferns my dad would bring home every now and again.  They must have been good if I'm making them all these decades later. 

A Fiddle-head is the little curlicue sprout before it blossoms into a fancy fern frond.  Fiddleheads taste like asparagus and have a crisp crunch to them and are a vibrant green.  They are full of antioxidants too. Check out Nutrition Facts for Fiddleheads.

Through the use of Twitter I contacted @wegmans the moderator for Wegman's Food Markets.  I requested that fiddleheads be delivered to the produce department of the store in my town.  Spring is the peak season for these so time was of the essence.  In a  matter of a couple of weeks they were able to get a good amount in stock for me. Thanks @wegmans and Mark, the Produce Manager!

First we have to clean and blanch these fiddleheads.  Cleaning and precooking fiddleheads is a crucial step because they could contain microbes.  Oh stop it! There's no need to feel squeamish! This is food the way it was meant to be fresh from mother earth.

With a paring knife remove the stem end of each fiddlehead then rinse them in a colander under cold water.

Okay let's get cookin'.  Here's what I used:

1 lb Fiddleheads
2-3T Salt
1C Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 small Red Onion, sliced
1/2 C Kalamata Olives, pitted and halved
1/4 C Feta Cheese

1/4 C Olive Oil
2 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1T Dijon Mustard
1 cloves garlic. minced
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t dried oregano
ground black pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil then add 2-3 T of salt.  Cook the fiddleheads in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, them remove with strainer and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Drain once cooled. 

See don't they look better now?!? I told you not to worry.....

Meanwhile combine Olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, oregano and pepper in a large screw top container or shaker with tight lid.  Shake to mix.

In a mixing bowl place tomatoes, olives, onions, half of the feta cheese, Greek dressing and fiddleheads.  Mix to combine.  Place mixed salad into serving dish and top garnish with remaining feta cheese. Enjoy!

I hope you try this. Fiddleheads are very tasty and healthful!


  1. I have never heard of these before, but will make it my future quest to find and try them. Thanks!

  2. Hi CYW!!!

    Thanks for stopping by! I hope you get a chance to try cooking with fiddleheads. They are an unusual food but has a very familiar taste. Give them a try and let me know how it works out for you. Thanks :D

  3. I have never heard of these before, but they look delicious to me and I will be contacting Wegman's as well!! (love Weggies)

    Reminds me of my escargot story when I was a wee young tad living in Greece.
    My grandmother and grandfather took me to their cottage to check on the olive groves. We loaded the donkey, enough food for 2 nites and off we went about a 4 hr walk. It rained like the dickens the following nite. The next morning (wee early hours) my grandmother woke me up to go gather snails to take home and make her stew. I'm like "snails"? She shook her head and her finger and told me to be a good Greek girl!!
    We gathered, we stored and we walked home. My grandmother placed them in a huge white pan, and covered them with an ever bigger pan. She told me to "watch the snails"... I did.
    I watched them come out and slither under the pans on their way to freedom. They were all over the kitchen table when she came back.
    She started yelling and said to me, "I told you to watch the snails", to which I respond, I am yaya. ;-)

    I have to try these fiddleheads for sure!!!

    Just found your blog from Lillian over at My Recipe Journey, I'm totally linking you on my blog!!! I have to come back and read the rest of your journey's and culinary delights!!!

    Thank you!!

  4. LOL Hi Didi!!! Yaya sounds like an adventurous culinary genius! I wonder what made the snails leave their shells? Did she warm the top pan making it too uncomfortable for them in their own shell?

    I really like fiddleheads a lot because they have a mild flavor and are so healthy too.

    I'm glad you stopped by and I hope to see you again soon.

    Thank you too!!! :D


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