Celebrate the spring fiddlehead season and make this vegetable pasta with the young, edible, tightly coiled fern frond that resembles the spiral end of a violin (fiddle).
• 250 g (1/2 lb) fiddlehead greens
• 170 g (6 oz) penne rigate
• 5 ml (1 tsp) plus 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
• 50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 50 ml (1/4 cup) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
• 1 ml (1/4 tsp) pepper
• 50 ml (1/4 cup) dried cranberries (optional)
• Hot peppers or cayenne pepper (optional)
• To clean and cook fiddleheads: Clean fiddleheads in cold water and rinse several times until the water looks clear. Cut off black ends.
• Bring to a boil 1 l (4 cups) of water with 5 ml (1 tsp) salt. Add fiddleheads, making sure they are totally submerged (otherwise, they will turn black).
• Cook 8 to 10 fiddleheads until al dente. When cooked, remove from boiling water and run under cold water so they remain al dente. Set aside.
Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and run cold water over noodles to keep them al dente. Keep warm.
• Combine olive oil and garlic and mix well. Toss fiddleheads with pasta, oil-garlic mixture, 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. If desired, add dried cranberries for a slightly sweet taste or add hot peppers for a spicy flavour.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: NorCliff Fiddlehead Greens.