Friday, May 18, 2012

Fiddleheads Anyone?

It's fiddlehead time in Saskatchewan! I bought a basket of freshly-picked fiddleheads from the Nipawin area. If you'd like to sample this wild spring delicacy, let me know. They're $4.50 for half a pound, which is just enough for a stir fry or pasta sauce (or the recipe below).

Fiddlehead and Tomato Gratin
You can use asparagus in place of fiddleheads. Or both! Serves 4

5 large ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 white wine
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups fresh fiddleheads

Cut the tomatoes in a small dice. You should have about 5 cups. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the tomatoes until the juices are released. Add the garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are very soft.

In a small sauce pan, simmer the stock and wine, reducing it by about half. Whisk in the cream and mustard. Return to a simmer. Cook until somewhat thickened. Meanwhile, mix the breadcrumbs and cheese. Add a dash of salt. Toss in the melted butter.

Cook the fiddleheads in boiling water for 8 minutes. Fiddleheads should be well cooked, not al dente, as they are reported to contain a mild toxin when raw.

Spread the tomatoes evenly in four individual gratin dishes or one larger baking dish. Lay the fiddleheads atop the tomatoes. Pour the mustard cream evenly over top. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese. Place under a hot broiler. Cook until the top is brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 6-8 minutes.

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