Images and recipe from the spring. I had wanted to try fiddlehead ferns for some years already, my curiosity aroused by VeganYumYum and a side note in a book by Thomas Harris. I knew the right type of ferns was growing in my grandparents woods, so this year I traveled there and made a little tour around the lush riverbanks, collecting uncoiled fiddleheads. I also got dried false morels - no fresh ones appereaded this year - and made a salad with these two ingredients. The taste of the fiddleheads was delicate, somewhat like asparagus but even more sophisticated. Nutty with a hint of bitterness, I found it delightfull. They were good with the false morels (Gyromitra esculenta) I got, but would be even better with real morchellas (Morchella esculenta).
Fiddlehead and false morel salad
(amounts of ingredients are rough, adjust according appetite and ingredients)
Couple of handfuls of fresh uncoiled ostrich fern fiddleheads
A handful of dried false morels (if you use real morels, the boiling is unnecessary)
1 dl Round pasta
1-2 tbs Olive oil
Pinch of sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Clean the fiddleheads and cut off any dry parts. Rinse with cold water and pat dry. Bring some water to boil, add fiddleheads and cook just long enought to make them tender, don't let them lose their crispness. Set aside, but don't refridgerate.
Soak the morels in hot water until they're soft. If too big, cut into suitable slices. Ditch the soaking water, add fresh and bring it to boil. When boiled few minutes, ditch the water again and boil the mushrooms one more time in fresh water. Pour out the water, pat mushrooms dry. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add the morels and let them fry until almost all the moisture has
evaporated. Season with some salt and black pepper if you like. If you want, fry some garlic or spring onions with the mushrooms.
Cook the pastas al dente, rinse with cold water and arrange them on a plate. Add the morels and the fiddleheads on top. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with good bread and fresh drink.
If you're using ferns for food, make sure you're collecting the right type. There's numerous poisonous ferns, so be careful especially if you're not experienced in botany. I take no responsibility of any symptoms caused by ferns used as food. And same goes for false morels. They are very poisonous if eaten raw, and should always be boiled about three times in fresh batches of water in a well air-conditioned space before being prepared for food. It's also good to notice that you should not drink alcohol when eating a dish containing false morels, the two don't go good together.