This year, I finally picked up fiddleheads at the Union Square Greenmarket – I never considered eating ferns before moving to New York. On the contrary, growing up and foraging in the woods of Northern Russia, I was taught to avoid ferns as beautiful but poisonous plants. It took me 2 years observing local New York foodies buying these greens at the spring markets to finally brave this ingredient myself.
I learnt that people here forage the ostrich fern fiddleheads, which is considered a safe-to-eat variety. It’s recommended to prep the ferns by boiling or steaming them for about 5-10 minutes. Their taste most resembles that of asparagus or green beans, so you’d want to use them in similar recipes. I decided to go for a simple spring omelet, and I’m here to report that no one was harmed, and both Ben and I really enjoyed our first fiddlehead experience.
What do you cook with fiddleheads?
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons half and half
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh fiddleheads, rinsed and cleaned
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup grated gruyere
1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, cook fiddleheads for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water, set aside.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and tomatoes, sauté 3-5 minutes, add the fiddleheads and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the eggs. Use a spatula to tear apart the bottom of the omelet while it’s cooking to let the uncooked eggs run to the bottom. When the edges are almost set, spread the filling over one half of the omelet and sprinkle everything with cheese. Fold the omelet over the filling and slide onto a plate.
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