Experiment: Fiddleheads sautéed with Mushrooms and Bacon
In my ‘Foodstuffs’ post featuring Fiddlehead Greens I mention that, although I ate these very often when I lived in New Brunswick, I didn’t care for them very much as most people there usually cook them by boiling them to death and then serve them with just a little butter or vinegar. However, once I got older and experimented a little, I discovered that if you blanch and then sauté them with different ingredients they can really be quite good.
While I was trying to decide what to do with a batch of fiddleheads my wife picked up, I came across a pretty decent recipe over at One Dad’s Kitchen that looked pretty good. That recipe braises green beans and bacon in chicken stock and I thought that, with a little modification, it might work nicely with this vegetable…
- 2 handfuls of Fiddlehead Greens
- 1 handful sliced Mushrooms
- 3 thick rashers of Bacon cut into short strips
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- White Wine (a splash or two)
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- A pinch or two of Salt
Before you begin, you need to first blanch the fiddleheads in boiling salted water for about a minute or two and then plunge them into ice-cold water to arrest the cooking. Drain well and shake them dry.
I am using de-alcoholized wine for this experiment because that is all I have in that house at present. If you are going to use the proper stuff, you may want to allow for an extra glass or two.
Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. As soon as it reaches the smoking point, toss in the fiddleheads and stir rapidly for a minute or two. Add a splash of the wine, sprinkle over the sugar and keep sautéing until the wine has evaporated completely. Remove the greens to a separate bowl for the time being.
Reduce the heat under the pan to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil and the bacon. Fry the bacon until it has rendered its fat and, just as the first few pieces are starting to get a little crispy, scoop out all the bacon pieces, leaving behind as much of the fat as possible, and put them into the bowl with the fiddlehead greens.
Now, you can sauté the mushrooms. After you put them into the pan, cover them for a minute or so until they throw of their liquid, then remove the cover and continue to cook for a few minutes longer.
As soon as the mushrooms are just starting to brown, add back the fiddleheads and bacon. Continue to fry everything, tossing and stirring, for three or four minutes longer until the greens are tender. Plate and serve.
These were very tasty. Bacon and greens always go nicely together and the mushrooms made a good textural counterpoint. The only negative was that the fiddleheads were not top-notch quality. These are a vegetable that demand to be eaten as freshly as possible (immediately after picking ideally) but these have a long way to travel to reach this far north. Still, they were very nice on the whole and both my wife and I enjoyed them…