Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Mushroom Pasta

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on May 24, 2010

 

Fiddleheads are young, coiled fronds of the Ostrich Fern. They appear during a short window in the spring and are usually foraged. They have a very mild flavor and a pleasant crunch. To me, they taste somewhat like broccoli stems. Fiddleheads taste great with morel mushrooms. Both fiddleheads and morels come into season at the same time; so it makes sense to use them together. The bright delicate flavor of fiddleheads paired with the earthiness of morels is just exquisite.

Fiddleheads remind me of the beauty of natures creations. These are bright green coils of fern with the delicate flavors of spring tucked into their gorgeous spirals. Dont add too many herbs or spices to fiddlehead dishes; just let their flavor shine through.

How to cook and store fiddleheads

- Remove any brown stuff and dirt on the fiddleheads. Trim the ends

- Wash them throughly in cold water

- Fiddle heads taste best when blanched in salted waterfor 2-4 minutes or until they are tender but crisp. Use blanched fiddleheads in pasta or lightly saute them in butter

- Instead of boiling, fiddleheads can also be steamed till they are crisp-tender

- Blanched/steamed fiddleheads can be patted dry and frozen

- Don’t eat fiddleheads raw, they can make you sick!

- Consume fiddleheads immediately after your purchase or foraging trip. They don’t keep very well

- If you must store fiddleheads, wrap them loosely in a plastic bag and refrigerate them. Use within one day

Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Mushroom Pasta Recipe

serves about 3-4

1/2 oz dried morel mushrooms
3 oz fiddlehead ferns (about 18-20 pieces), washed well
1/2 pound pasta
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream (recommended) or milk
salt and pepper

Boil water in a small pot, add dried morel mushrooms to boiling water. Immediately turn off heat. Cover and let the mushrooms soak for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain and squeeze excess liquid from the mushroom. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid.

In another pot, boil more water, add fiddlehead ferns and boil for about 2 minutes. Then remove from water and submerge in a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. This will stop the cooking process and keep the fiddleheads crisp and green.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water till pasta is al-dente. Don’t overcook pasta.

While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet and add butter or olive oil. Add chopped garlic, thyme, and drained morel mushrooms. Cook till morels are soft. Add drained fiddleheads, cream, and 2 tablespoons of mushroom soaking liquid. Cook on low heat for about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper. For a thinner sauce, add more mushroom soaking liquid. Add the boiled pasta and toss.

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Comments

comments

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 A&N May 24, 2010 at 8:11 pm

The pic of the fiddlehead fern is magical. Like in fantasy stories! I’ve heard about the exotic-ness of these ingredients. Never tried them myself.

Did you forage for the ferns, Sala?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

No, I didnt forage them. Got them at the grocery store!

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2 elra May 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Sala, you pasta dish look too beautiful to eat. I am sure it is delish!

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3 Katrina (gluten free gidget) May 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Where did you find those fantastic little swirly fiddleheads?!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I found them at our local wegmans grocery store (virginia). Fiddleheads appear within such a short time window; so I snapped them up the minute I saw them in the store!

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4 Rosa May 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I’d love to find fiddleheads here… I bet that dish tastes heavenly!

Cheers,

Rosa

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5 Sharmilee May 25, 2010 at 12:04 am

I luv this shell pasta and have tried a simple version with it.Looks totally yum

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6 Jay May 25, 2010 at 12:46 am

Hy Sala,
Chanced upon ur blog, while blog hopping…lovely space you have with interesting collection of recipes…Am your new follower now…:)
YOu are most welcome to my space.

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7 Priti May 25, 2010 at 2:17 am

Wow this looks so gud…love all the pics..and this mushroom is new to me….

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8 Happy Cook May 25, 2010 at 2:32 am

Only after starting to blog i cam to know about this fiddle head… i have never seen them here.

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9 Mallika May 25, 2010 at 6:50 am

Your photography is spectacular, Sala. I love that photo of Fiddlehead fern. The recipe looks simple yet amazing.

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10 Deesha May 25, 2010 at 7:15 am

fiddlehead fern, never heard of it .. looks soo cute

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11 Julie M. May 25, 2010 at 8:37 am

Yum! I’ve always wanted to try fiddleheads but have never actually seen them for sale anywhere. This looks delicious!

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12 Cumin Coriander May 25, 2010 at 10:31 am

The pasta looks delicious.

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13 Michael Cavinta May 25, 2010 at 11:03 am

I am trying to eat more vegetables right now and possibly convert into a vegetarian in the near future. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe to us, I have tried it and I must say that I really love this pasta! It really went well with a cold glass of delonghi coffee I got as a present a couple of days ago. Please continue to share more great recipes! Thanks.

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14 lisa May 25, 2010 at 11:18 am

What a beauty of a pasta dish! The fiddleheads make it so exotic and unique. Must taste so delicious with the morels!

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15 Shriya May 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Wow!!! Love the fiddlehead fern pic. It’s soo interesting to know a new type of fern. Beautiful pics. I couldn’t take my eyes out of it.

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16 Jacqueline May 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Such a pretty dish and I just adore mushrooms. Never had fiddleheads before though.

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17 lisaiscooking May 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm

These are two ingredients I can’t seem to get here but so wish I could! Looks fantastic.

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18 nags May 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm

haha the fiddleheads are so cute! Sala, I somehow unsubscribed you from reader so I missed a few posts of yours. so silly!

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19 Brian May 26, 2010 at 10:13 am

GORGEOUS! GORGEOUS! GORGEOUS! This is the perfect spring dish! And the leftover morel liquid makes fantastic broth!

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20 Lathika George May 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Looks magical – would love to forage for some…wonder if we have any fiddlehead ferns in our forests up here in Kodai. Love the ingredients you use.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

You probably do! You’ll want to make sure they are edible fiddleheads and not any other kind of unedible fern. There used to be a lady in Kodi who brought foraged mushrooms to our house. I bet someone like that would be the best person to identify fiddleheads :)

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21 Devika May 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

awesome recipe. i have always wanted to know how to cook fiddleheads.

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22 Liam O'Malley May 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Great looking dish. I love wild foods. I went foraging for morels twice this season for the first time in my life. The first time was a great success, second time – nothing. I’ve never gone hunting fiddleheads though, never eaten them either. I’m curious how much they cost at Wegman’s? Are they as outlandishly priced as morels?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Fiddleheads at wegmans were about $11 a pound. But they are very light, so I spent about $2 on fiddleheads for this recipe.

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23 Cooking with Kait June 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I love fiddlehead ferns and love that you paired it with morels. Great recipe!

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24 Maija Haavisto July 20, 2010 at 5:58 am

I’ve been picking and eating wild vegetables since a very young age and I’ve always been a big fan of the lovely spirally curls of young ferns – but it never occurred to me that they could be edible! For some reason Finnish wild vegetable sources never seem to mention them, even though ferns are ubiquitous here. Weird. It’s too bad the season is probably far past over for this year. :-/

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