Now here is something I don’t eat all that often. MAYBE once a year, if that. Not too sure why, though, because I happen to really like them.
Maybe it’s because I used to always have them the exact same way: steamed, then sauteed in butter with salt, pepper and LOADS of garlic.
I don’t really do garlic anymore.
It’s not that I don’t like it or that I think it’s not good for me. No way. It’s just that I don’t care much about having it on my breath for so long!
So I guess I had pretty much given up on eating fiddleheads because I didn’t want to reek of garlic.
But when they came in season this year, I decided that I HAD to have some. I figured they should still taste good even without the millions of cloves of garlic.
And I was right! They do! I think I like ‘em even better without.
They have an extremely fresh flavor to them. And a very interesting soft yet firm texture. But what I like best about them is their “alienesque” appearance. You have to admit that they do look pretty unique!
Another thing that I made differently this time is I enjoyed my fiddleheads cold and added them to a salad.
Or rather, made them the star of a salad.
First, I steamed them for the recommended 10 minutes (I really wish I didn’t have to cook them for THAT long, but that would be the minimum recommended cooking time to avoid foodborne illness*) then I plunged them in icy cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve their beautiful color.
I still added a touch of garlic, in the form of fermented garlic flowers to my vinaigrette, but frankly, this doesn’t even compare. Fermented garlic flowers have a very mild flavor that doesn’t really stay on your breath like raw garlic does. They just add a little bit of a fragrance, without taking over and overpowering the taste of every other guest that had been invited to join the party…
You know what? I think this was my favorite way of enjoying fiddleheads so far.
I really wish I could’ve repeated the experience, but their season is so short, the next time I was at the grocery store, they’d already disappeared.
Oh well… there’s always next year.
At least, now I know that I like them even sans the garlic.
*There have apparently been cases of temporary illness in Canada and the United States associated with eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads. To date, studies have not determined the cause of these illnesses. Read more about it here.