Have you ever had a fiddlehead?

If you haven't and have no idea what I'm talking about, a short explanation below from Wikipedia:

Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond. As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground.
Fiddleheads have antioxidant activity, are a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6, and are high in iron and fibre.

They become quite popular in BC around this time and are sold in higher-end grocery stores. I personally used to see them shooting up on hiking trails all over the place but have never actually eaten one. So I decided to pick some up at my local Urban Fare and test myself by making a gourmet salad for me and Tenacious C (this is what I'm calling Chris these days).

Gourmet Fiddlehead Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Maple Toasted Pecans (Food Network)

Pickled Red Onions
cups sliced red onions
1/3 cup sugar

1/3 honey

cup dry white wine
cup lemon juice
teaspoon salt

Maple Toasted Pecans
cups pecan halves
tablespoons pure maple syrup
teaspoon ground black pepper

Fiddlehead Salad
tablespoons lemon juice
tablespoon finely minced shallot
teaspoon Dijon mustard
grapeseed or canola oil
salt and pepper

tablespoons tepid water
tablespoon chopped chives
cups fresh or frozen fiddleheads
cup pickled red onion
maple toasted pecans

Pickled Red Onions

  1. Simmer all ingredients, uncovered, over medium heat until onions are tender and liquid has evaporated.
  2. Pickled red onions will keep for up to 6 weeks, refrigerated

Maple Toasted Pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Toss pecans with maple syrup and black pepper to coat. Spread pecans on prepared tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, without stirring, until toasted. Once cooled the maple syrup will caramelize onto pecans.
  2. Store pecans in an airtight container for up to a month.

Fiddlehead Salad

  1. For vinaigrette, whisk lemon juice, shallot and Dijon to blend. Gradually whisk in grapeseed or canola oil until incorporated, then whisk in water. Season to taste and stir in chives.
  2. For fiddleheads, trim off stem end and wash thoroughly, rubbing gently between your fingers. Drain well. Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Blanch fiddleheads until tender, about 5 minutes (tasting is the best way to judge). Drain fiddleheads and shock in ice water to halt cooking. Drain and chill until ready to serve.
  3. To assemble salad, arrange radicchio on a platter. Toss fiddleheads with vinaigrette and arrange on platter. Spoon pickled red onions over and top with maple toasted pecans. Serve immediately.

This was light and delicious and perfect for a warm spring night. Tenacious C and I had ours with garlic toast (homemade, natch).

You know what else is in season? Stellaheads:

I love it when my cat imitates my food. It's like she knows.

We haven't seen much of the Royal Bitch on Crass Cuisine lately, mostly because her life is completely boring. Much like mine these days. But don't worry. Times they are a changin'. Stay tuned.