Fiddle me this, fiddle me that

Among the many things I love about spring are the things I find at the local market. I was fortunate to find the first fiddleheads of the season at Marche Jean Talon last week on my trip to Montreal. Fiddleheads are the furled fronds of a young fern. They have a unique texture and taste similar to asparagus.

The lovely vendors selling the fiddleheads offered a guide to preparing them. I see this as a great way to expand the knowledge of their patrons people who may be cooking fiddleheads for the first time. Not having a strict recipe, but rather a guideline is an open invitation for creativity by the cook.

Farmers’ markets make it possible for everyone to have a personal connection with the grower or forager providing their food. It is a direct link to our sustenance in the reciprocal relationship to the land that is broken by mass produced food. The nourishment that only real food can provide has a way of bringing likeminded people together to celebrate community.

The Six Nations Farmers’ Market kicks off this weekend in Ohsweken. I’ve been invited to share some cooking tips and ways to enjoy all the delicious produce that will be available throughout the year. I look forward to learning and sharing with the community as we harvest and give thanks for Mother Earth’s bounty.

When visiting your local market this year don’t be shy, try something new and ask for advice on how to prepare something unfamiliar. You will be thrilled when you find something new to love.

How to Cook Fiddleheads

Cleaning foraged fiddleheads can be a pain. Remove the scales and trim the woody stems then wash them well in cold water.

Boil for 3 minutes in well salted water. Rinse and repeat in fresh water. Shock the fiddleheads in an ice bath.

My favourite way to serve fiddleheads is sautéed in butter with garlic, chili flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. They also make a great soup. When served cold (after being cooked) they go well in egg dishes like a quiche or fritatta and are a nice addition to a crunchy salad.

We don’t need to disguise or torture our vegetables to taste like something they aren’t. We need to appreciate them for what they are.

Enjoy the simplicity!

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