Monday, May 22, 2006

Fiddleheads!

Last week, DH and I had a chance to sample what is perhaps the only kosher New England delicacy: fiddleheads! (No, it's not always spelled with an exclamation point.) Fiddleheads are edible ferns with an extremely short growing season. They get their name from their shape, which looks like the handle of a fiddle:

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads

Handle of Fiddle

Handle of Fiddle



In flavor, fiddleheads most closely resemble the dark outer leaves of an artichoke, though there is also some resemblence to asparagus. To prepare fiddleheads, first rinse them under running water, rubbing off the papery outer layer, if it is still attached. Cut off the ends, then plunge the fiddleheads into rapidly boiling water for about five minutes and drain. After that, you can marinate them, saute them with garlic, or do what we did: eat a bunch plain and put the rest in a salad.
Yum :)

(Cross-posted to Kosherblog.)

12 comments:

Mar Gavriel said...

I thought the verb was spelled "marinade", just like the noun. However, Dictionary.Com informs me that both marinate and marinade are acceptable spellings of the verb. (Marinade is still the only spelling for the noun.)

Anyway, are fiddleheads difficult to check for sherotzim? Also, where are they available in New York Ciy?

elf said...

Anyway, are fiddleheads difficult to check for sherotzim?

Fiddleheads do have crevices in which small insects could conceivably hide. We just wash vegetables under high pressure and consider that adequate. There are, of course, various opinions on vegetable checking. Whether it's practical to eat fiddleheads would depend on which position you follow. I would imagine that the easiest method would be one that many people use for broccoli: soak them in water with a bit of salt and vinegar; remove any dead insects that float to the top; rinse under running water.

Also, where are they available in New York Ciy?

I have never seen fresh fiddleheads outside the Boston area, but I would imagine that they would be available somewhere in New York. (Maybe Fairway?)

Fresh fiddleheads are only in the market for a few months each year. They are also supposedly sold frozen and canned, though I wouldn't imagine that they'd be hekhshered. (There is an opinion that frozen vegetables do not require a hekhsher. With regard to canned fiddleheads, you'd have to check with someone familiar with the processing methods for the product.)

Mar Gavriel said...

soak them in water with a bit of salt and vinegar

Salt and vinegar works for broccoli? I didn't know that. I tend to soak it in soap suds in the summer, and plain warm water in the winter. (In my experience, there have been far fewer insects in winter broccoli than in summer broccoli.)

Would frozen/canned vegetables still need to be checked for sherotzim?

Rachel said...

Mmm, fiddleheads.

I find them quite tasty panfried with butter, garlic, and pine nuts, with a little kosher salt and fresh pepper. (The same works well for brussels sprouts.)

Meredith said...

I was under the impression that frozen/canned veggies are already bodek, assuming that they have a reliable* heksher.


* To each his/her own.

elf said...

I was under the impression that frozen/canned veggies are already bodek, assuming that they have a reliable* heksher.

I think that's generally accepted. Also, since the freezing process doesn't raise inherent kashrut concerns (except for Pesach), vegetables that don't require checking, such as carrots and peas, do not require a hekhsher. Other vegetables are controversial. Companies typically do all they can to remove insects for commercial reasons, including soaking vegetables in detergents and discarding infested batches. Different kashrut organizations have different opinions with regard to the adequacy of these procedures.

I have no idea whether fiddleheads are actually prone to infestation or whether the frozen variety is hekhshered (though my guess would be that it's not). If you're concerned about insects in frozen vegetables, you can soak them in saltwater.

elf said...

I find them quite tasty panfried with butter, garlic, and pine nuts, with a little kosher salt and fresh pepper.

That sounds fantastic.

Lawrence said...

MG: I've seen fiddleheads in the 74th St. Fairway. (I don't spend much time at the uptown one.) When you enter the store, immediately turn left and head down the first produce aisle. If they're in stock, they'll be either on the wall to your left (near the chile peppers) or a bit to the right on the wall in front of you (with the exotic mushrooms).

elf said...

In a comment on the Kosherblog version of the post, velorutionary wrote that they are available at Union Square greenmarket in NYC as well.

debka_notion said...

You can buy fiddleheads? Heck, I've never even thought of cooking them- I just find the occasional fern with not-yet-unfurled leaves, snap one or two off, and munch. They're rather pleasant raw...

elf said...

You can buy fiddleheads?

You can also sell them, according to the Globe.

hanly said...

Blu Ray Converter

Convert Blu Ray Mac
Convert Blu Ray to AVI
Convert Blu Ray to DivX
Convert Blu Ray to MKV
Convert Blu Ray to MOV
Convert Blu Ray to MP4
Convert Blu Ray to MPEG
Convert Blu Ray to MPEG2
Convert Blu Ray to MPEG4
Convert Blu Ray to VOB
Convert Blu Ray to WMV
Convert Blu Ray to Xvid
Convert Blu Ray to HD
Convert Blu Ray to HD WMV
Convert Blu Ray to iPod
Convert Blu Ray to PS3
Convert Blu Ray to PSP
Convert Blu Ray to Xbox360