Fiddlehead ferns gently sauteed with garlic and herbs are tender, flavorful, with just a bit of a crispness left to them. They taste a little like asparagus. Very delicious……and very wild.
And yes, they really are from ferns! They are fern shots from a certain ostrich fern (not all ferns are edible, by the way, so take come classes before you start trying to gather them yourself!). Fiddlehead ferns are only available for a short time, so grab them while you can! Your best bet for finding them is at local farmer markets.
My fiddlehead ferns were bought from my local farmer’s market where a lady coordinates a booth selling products from different professional wild food gatherers. There were many items to choose from, but the fiddlehead ferns were on the top of my list to try. Yum! They were good.
But more than just their culinary value, I feel that wild food is on the opposite spectrum of genetically modified food. Wild food isn’t even cultivated, but simply needs to be gathered (and yes, they are generally very high in nutrients). On the other hand, genetically modified food took not only a lot of cultivation, pesticides and other human intervention, but also required a scientist to create it in the first place. GMO’s are the scientific worlds answer to nature’s natural resources.
Unfortunately, unless you are eating an all organic diet, you are probably consuming far more GMO’s then you realize (about 75 percent of the food in the supermarket contains GMO’s). Even more unfortunately, those GMO’s are probably hurting you more than you think. In fact, some countries consider them so bad they are completely banned from the country (and we have them in 70 percent of our food? Are we crazy?).
To spread the word about GMO’s, there is a No GMO Challenge going on this month, complete with carnival’s and prizes. Check it out and consider joining it-not because it’s another thing to join, but because I believe the message is important and the challenge vital to our health. Challenge yourself, can you go a month without eating GMO’s?
Meanwhile, here is the perfect antidote to GMO’s. A wild-gathered fiddlehead fern dish in it’s natural unaltered glory.
Garlicky Fiddlehead Ferns
About 1/2 pound of fiddlehead fern
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 or more tablespoons of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, lovage)
Combination of olive oil and butter or ghee, olive oil and lard, or your choice of oil/fat
1-Wash the fiddleheads. Remove any fuzz found in the “curl” of the fiddlehead (easily done by running a finger through the curl or simply rinsing with plenty of water). Dry. I like to do this process in my salad spinner.
2-In a large skillet heat your oil/fat, until hot and add the fiddleheads and garlic cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fiddleheads are soft with just a hint of crispness left to them. I simply kept taking one out and eating it to find out if they were done! I don’t like them overly crisp, as I find their flavor not as good when undercooked. But when they are well cooked and tender, they are delicious!
3-In the last minute or two, add the herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and then serve while hot.