Fiddlehead Frenzy


We are always fascinated by Mother Nature’s unique offerings and often sample and experiment with her seasonal crop. Walking through a farmers market is like walking through an art gallery, passing by an array of shapes, colors and textures. We recently stumbled upon a basket of whimsical, emerald green spirals. Fiddleheads, the name coined for their resemblance to the arm of a fiddle, are plucked when they first emerge from the soil. When prepared, the rustic yet beautiful fronds add a sophisticated visual appeal to any dish.

Intrigued by the shape and curious about the taste, we whipped up a springtime pasta dish featuring the compact spiral. The flavor is similar to asparagus or green beans with a consistency incomparable to any other vegetable. We opt to blanch and sautee the mild, nutty fiddleheads with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon and toss them with creamy, tart goat cheese and big spools of bucatini pasta. While the creamy bucatini intertwine perfectly with the fiddleheads, there is no denying that the foraged finds steal the show.

Creamy Sauteed Fiddleheads over Bucatini

2 c fiddleheads, rinsed
1 lb bucatini
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t lemon zest
4 oz goat cheese
1 T unsalted butter
juice of half a lemon
1 ladle pasta water
salt and pepper throughout

In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, throw in the fiddleheads. Let them cook until al dente, about 3 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the fiddleheads from the water and pour them into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking.

Empty and refill the large pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the bucatini and cook as directed.

While the bucatini is cooking, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, fiddleheads, salt and pepper and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add half of the goat cheese, a ladle of pasta water and lemon zest and let cook until the goat cheese has melted. Drain the al dente pasta and add it to the skillet. Toss with the remaining goat cheese, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serves 4.

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