Every week we pull together some great Canadian recipes from Canadian food bloggers around the web featuring one main ingredient or dish. This week we're featuring a spring favourite in Canada: fiddlehead recipes!
Fiddleheads, along with local asparagus and ramps or garlic scapes, are one of the first signs of spring in Canada and they're often considered a delicacy because of their very brief harvest window and delicious taste.
So what are fiddleheads exactly? Fiddleheads of the edible variety are the unfurled shoots of the Ostrich Fern and they look like small, green, tightly wound coils (they look like the curled up end of a fiddle or violin!). They're harvested for a very brief window - just 3-4 weeks - from coast to coast.
More temperate areas of BC's west coast will see them as early as April and the rest of the country will usually start to see them in May. Wherever you live, their presence is fleeting and if you want to try this first taste of spring you'll need to keep a watchful eye out for them. If you see fiddleheads on a menu outside of this time frame they will have been frozen.
Some people forage for their own fiddleheads (only do this if you know what you're doing or have a very knowledgeable guide - there are other fern varieties out there that are not edible but may look quite similar to the untrained eye.). But, fiddleheads are becoming more and more common in grocery stores and are often one of the first items available at Canadian farmers' markets.
Of course, when you're cooking with a new ingredient it's important to have an idea of its flavour profile. Most commonly, people say fiddleheads taste like asparagus - but with an additional nutty flavour. Some say they can also taste hints of spinach or artichoke or a grassy flavour. In other words, they taste like spring!
One very important thing to remember with fiddleheads is they must not be eaten raw. Health Canada warns that consuming raw or improperly cooked fiddleheads can result in food poisoning (you can see Health Canada's recommendations for consuming fiddleheads here.).
Ok, so you have your fiddleheads and you're very excited but... what should you do next? Enter Chef Markus Mueller from Earth, Food and Fire - he's got lots of tips to help you clean and cook your fiddleheads.
Once you've got the basics down you can go to town with this collection of 8 fiddlehead recipes!
8 Fiddlehead Recipe Ideas:
1. Sautéed Fiddleheads
Sautéed Fiddleheads like these from Melissa Torio are an easy and colourful way to welcome spring into your kitchen. A plate that bright and cheery will banish a gloomy winter for months!
2. Fiddleheads with Mushrooms and Pancetta
Pancetta adds a whole new layer of flavour when you sautée it with greens of any kinda and these Fiddleheads with Mushrooms and Pancetta by Sneaky Mommies are no exception!
3. Beer Battered Fiddleheads
If you want a true spring party appetizer or snack, try these Beer Battered Fiddleheads by Bacon is Magic. They even served them with a kimchi mayo made with ramp kimchi! Ramps are another fleeting spring green and the batter in this recipe will also work for beer battered ramps. If you don't have access to ramps you can make the mayo with a store bought kimchi.
4. Small Batch Pickled Fiddleheads
If you want to stretch fiddlehead season a little bit longer, try pickling them! This Small Batch Pickled Fiddlehead recipe by Crumb will ensure you can enjoy those little green spirals for months. Plus they're great on charcuterie boards or to garnish a cocktail!
5. Fiddlehead and Wild Asparagus California Pizza
What happens when you combine two of springs favourite ingredients with everyone's favourite weekend dish? You get Fiddlehead and Wild Asparagus California Pizza from CulturEatz.
6. Paleo Calamari, Battered Fiddleheads and Asparagus
Here's a snack trio perfect for spring. The Primal Desire puts a paleo twist on a Greek dish: Paleo Calamari with Battered Fiddleheads and Asparagus - serve it up with their Paleo Tzatziki for a delicious treat!
7. Fiddlehead and Cheddar Tart
This pretty Fiddlehead and Cheddar Tart is spring on a plate from West Coast Kitchen Garden. It would make an elegant addition to a spring brunch or a Mother's Day treat!
8. Beef Tenderloin, Einkorn and Fiddleheads
Beef Tenderloin with Einkorn and Fiddleheads and a Horseradish Cream by Diversivore is a restaurant quality meal that you can make at home. It's perfect for a special dinner or just as a treat for yourself and it's not as intimidating as it sounds.
A big thank you to all our FBC Members who participated in this week's Fiddlehead recipe roundup. If you're an FBC Member and would like to submit to future weekend link roundups, make sure you're signed up to receive your members-only newsletter where we list all the weekly roundups for the current month (don't receive your monthly member newsletter? Log in to your account and check off the box to receive our member updates!)
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More Ways to Use Spring Produce
- 21 Tantalizing Asparagus Ideas
- Over 15 Ways to Use Garlic and Garlic Scapes
- 18 Spring Radish Dishes to Try