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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asian Fiddlehead Salad

 Fiddleheads....

Have you had them?  From the comments that I have received on the blog and in email in response to my Wordless Wednesday post here, it seems that I'm not the only one out there who has been deprived of these wonderful little delicacies.  Moving to New England has opened up all sorts of doors for me to experience new things over the past six months.  Fiddleheads are, by far, one of my favorites.

Fiddleheads are the rage this time of year in New England. They are the tightly coiled frond of the Ostrich fern and given their name due to their resemblance to head of a fiddle.


 They are only curled up for a couple of weeks and then they uncurl into the beautiful fern leaves that we have all seen so the window of opportunity is short to enjoy them.   From what I've read about them, that they closely resemble some other ferns so you have to be careful which ones you pick.  My stepdaughter and her Chef Husband enjoy foraging for them so maybe they will take me someday so that I, too, can make sure that I grab the right ones.  I love the idea of picking things wild and eating them; but I am aware enough to know that I need to be particularly careful of that. 

Fiddleheads are rich in Vitamins A and C so they are a very healthy option to add to your diet if you can find them available in your area.  I had been told that their taste most closely resembles that of asparagus so that I could prepare them and use them in the same way.  I read up on them that they were kind of bitter and that some people experience gastrointestinal upset if they are not cooked enough.   I probably cooked ours too long but with the amount of work that we have to get accomplished every day, I couldn't be too careful.  I cleaned them really good under running cold water and put them in a pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.  I took them immediately out of the water and plunged them into an ice water bath while I prepared the rest of the meal.

David got the grill all set up for the first time since moving to New England and I had some chicken thighs that begged to be sacrificed on that altar for our enjoyment.  What better dish to go with grilled chicken than a salad.  Since we have a mild Asian food addiction and often use asparagus in those kinds of dishes, I decided to go that route.  I had some szechuan barbecue marinade in the pantry that needed to be used up so a dinner idea was born.


Last week, I had prepared a recipe for Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers that I had gotten here off of Renee's Eat.Live.Blog.  They were amazing!  It was one of those recipes that I've made in this time of transition that I have not had an opportunity to share with you.  No time for pictures....no time for blogging.

The only changes that I made to her recipe was to use rice wine vinegar instead of white vinegar and I had an English cucumber instead of the pickling ones.  I served it with pulled pork sandwiches and they were a huuuuge hit with the people here helping us move.    

I had more of the forbidden black rice that I had told you about previously so I threw that with the fiddleheads, a few other veggies, peanuts and Renee's fabulous dressing and it was wonderful.

So without further adieu, I give you....

Asian Fiddlehead Salad
Adapted from Eat.Live.Blog

For the Salad:

Fiddlehead Ferns ( I have no idea how many that I had....maybe 1/2 lb.)
Baby Carrots, diced
Green Onions, chopped
1 cup black rice, cooked (you can use brown)
Chopped Roasted Peanuts, for garnish

Wash the fiddleheads gently under cool running water.  Add to a pot of boiling salted water and cook about 5 minutes or until they are done to your liking.  I have heard that they will possibly give you intestinal upset if you do not cook them long enough.  My mother-in-law says that she doesn't cook them very much and they are fine.  

So...use your discretion here.

Once they are done, plunge in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  

In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, chopped carrots, chopped green onions and the fiddleheads.  

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Salt
2/3 cup Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Sugar
Sriracha, to taste (I used quite a bit as we like things spicy!)
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste

Mix the ingredients for the dressing together in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts just before serving.  You can serve this immediately or refrigerate it to chill and serve it later.  If you serve it later, hold off on adding the peanuts until you serve it.  I served it immediately and it was delicious.  We had leftovers the next day and they were delicious, as well. 




This post is being linked up here with the
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, here with  
What's Cooking Wednesday,  
here with Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday
and here for Seasonal Sundays

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you are having a wonderful day!



Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers 















Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

21 comments:

  1. This sounds divine! And the fiddleheads add a lovely touch - such an elegant salad! Thanks for sharing your recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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  2. Sounds delicious. No fiddleheads here though, the climate's wrong.

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  3. I have lots and lots in my yard. My husband mows them over! :O)

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  4. What an awesome way to prepare fiddleheads! I think like this better than my mac and cheese. Asian flavors always make me super happy.

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  5. Thanks for the recipe! We have loads growing in the woods behind our house but I've never cooked them.

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  6. I love the Asian flavors, and together with the fiddleheads, it just has to be an awesome salad!

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  7. You have a functional kitchen -- yay!!! And what a beautiful meal to have produced in it! Every so often, I see the fiddleheads here in Ann Arbor; but I've never used them, having no experience with them whatsoever. Never even tasted 'em ... must remedy this now ... :)

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  8. Now when I see them, I do understand why they are called fiddleheads, LOL! Never heard it until like last week on Twitter!

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  9. This looks and sounds awesome! I've lived here in New England all of my life and have never heard of fiddleheads. However, I vaguely remember walking by them in the produce aisle in the grocery store. Now I know what they are and will take notice next time I go by them. Thanks for sharing and especially for providing their nutritional information.

    Jane
    frugalfineliving.com

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  10. I've never had fiddleheads either. I love when people introduce me to new foods! I feel like I've seen them before at a market. They looks so cool. And if they are similar to asparagus then I know I'll love them! Great recipe. Nice to have a chef in the family too, huh? ;O)

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  11. Count me in with the people that have never had fiddleheads. I have seen them but now I have a salad excuse recipe to try them.

    Thanks Candace

    Mely

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  12. Thanks for introducing fiddle heads to me.Awesome healthy salad.

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  13. Okay, this salad sounds absolutely divine. But...I cannot believe I have NEVER even heard of fiddleheads! Yikes! Now they are on my list of must-try items!

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  14. I just love this new veggie you have introduced me to and I wish I could use it. I need to google and find where I could actually buy them if at all. Hope you have a great memorial day weekend my friend! XO
    Jessica

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  15. Thanks Candace, I'v never heard of fiddleheads before (and I've lived in New England). If I ever come across some I'll get them and make this salad (LOVE the dressing!!), enjoy your weekend! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  16. Oh! Yes! I love fiddleheads. I am originally from New Hampshire and haven't had a fiddle head in over-ahem-twenty years. Your salad looks so good. I sure do miss the foods of my beloved New England.

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  17. While I never heard of them, you certainly have a knack for making them sound good! And that salad looks simply delish!

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  18. Hi Candace,
    On one of my visits to New England I had a Fiddlehead Salad. Those little Fiddlehead's are just delicious. I would love to try your salad because it looks so good, I have never seen any Fiddleheads here. If someone know where I can get them I would love to know. I am still looking for the black rice. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!

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  19. I only watched someone cook the fiddleheads on tv but never tried one myself. I would love to when I got a chance. I haven't seen them in markets though.

    BTW, I'm hosting a little Giveaway on my blog. Please stop by to enter when you have a chance. Here's the link: http://utry.it/2011/05/hong-kong-macau-and-australia-trippart.html

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Amy
    http://utry.it

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  20. Ooh, Fiddleheads! I've never heard of those. I love discovering new foods...like just the other day I read about Mirlitons (a native of your LA) and now I'm just aching to try them. : ) Thanks for sharing!

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  21. I just had them for the first time and loved them! Not sure if the season is over yet but, if not, this salad sounds delish!

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