Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Fiddlehead Salad

All too often I gather up every vegetable in my refrigerator, cut them up, and throw them on top of some lettuce.

A literal "everything but the kitchen sink" type of salad.

Now, I'm not complaining.  Nor is a vegetable loaded salad a bad thing.  However, I forget about the delicious simplicity that comes out of just a few ingredients and a delicious dressing.  And this was the salad that reminded me of that whole "simplicity is key" thing. 

A vegetable, a fruit, a nut, and some dairy.  Seriously.  Could it get any more simple?

Before I let you in on the whole simplicity thing, we obviously need to chat about the whole fiddlehead fern thing.  I first had fiddleheads at Journeyman, an unbelievable little restaurant in Somerville (that I've probably already told you about).  They were served with a spruce panna cotta, morel mushrooms, and a spruce crumble.  Easy to say I was swooning as soon as the plate hit the table. 

They have this unbelievably earthy flavor (but nothing like eating dirt) that I can't compare to anything else, they have the perfect "crunch", and let's be honest...they are easily the most fun looking vegetable.

So go grab some fiddleheads.  They are a little hard to find so check your local farmers market or a local grocery store with a great produce section.  Don't wait though.  They have a short season and won't be around long!

Adapted from Roost

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

1 pint fresh fiddlehead ferns
spring mix lettuce
1 large orange, cut into chunks
handful of toasted almonds, roughly chopped
parmesan reggiano

for the dressing-
1 medium shallot, finely minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Trim the stem off of the fiddleheads and wash thoroughly, gently rubbing them between your fingers.  Drain well.  Blanch fiddleheads until tender, about 5 minutes.  Pour into a strainer and run under ice cold water to halt the cooking.  Drain again and chill until ready to serve.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the first four ingredients in a blender and pulse several times.  Slowly pour in the olive oil while on low speed.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Toss the lettuce, orange, almonds, and fiddleheads in a large bowl.  Top with parmesan and toss with dressing.

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