Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blueberries and Fiddlehead Ferns

It has been quite a while since my last post. That kitchenette in my old place was not so conducive to food preparation, but I have a real kitchen (hooray!) now, so here are my latest food shenanigans.

Whole Foods had giant flats of blueberries on sale, so I bought some to enjoy with some plain yogurt. Somehow, I have managed to have about a cup of blueberries every day for a week without running out.

This morning, I tried some in my French toast (recipe below). The blueberries were warm and delicious, without being syrupy.

I also found some darling fiddlehead ferns at Whole Foods. They were fairly expensive ($12/lb, though they are fairly lightweight). I used to think these looked sort of freaky (like green snails), and so this was my first time trying them.

A couple of things about the fiddleheads. You can't just blanch these things. You have to cook them in 2 changes of water, because they can otherwise make you sick. You should also clean them well. The fiddleheads

They have an odd flavor--its kind of creamy, if a green vegetable can be described that way. I was a little bit ambivalent about biting in, given what they look like, but they are pretty delicious. I thought the best way to serve them would be as bright green color accents in a pasta salad.

So, some recipes:

Blueberry French Toast
Serves: 1

2 slices of bread (I used a thick-cut multigrain, though challah would work well, too)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried

1. Soak the bread in the beaten eggs, making sure to be fully absorbed on both sides.
2. Heat a frying pan on high heat. Place bread in frying pan. Reserve some of the egg.
3. With a butter knife, make x's in the bread. Place one blueberry in each x. Pour the rest of the egg over the top of the bread.
4. Fry on both sides, being careful that the blueberries don't come out while flipping.
5. Serve with maple syrup or powdered sugar.

Fiddlehead Fern pasta salad
Serves: 8

2 cups whole wheat fusilli (or another pasta)
1/2 cup fiddlehead ferns
1 cup of mix and match veggies from your store's olive bar. I got marinated, pitted olives (chopped), marinated sweet read peppers, baby pickles, and marinated mushrooms from Whole foods.
4 Tbs rosemary grapeseed oil (see recipe below)
1 Tbs vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the pasta al dente, drain, and store in a big glass bowl in the refrigerator.
2. Clean and cook the fiddlehead ferns in boiling water. Drain, and cook again in a fresh pot of water. This should take about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool in the refrigerator.
3. Slice the olive bar veggies and feta into small pieces. Toss them, with the liquid, into the pasta bowl.
4. Toss in the grapeseed oil and vinegar with the pasta, and season to taste.
5. Add in fiddlehead ferns last.

Rosemary grapeseed oil

I used grapeseed oil because it has a very light flavor.

Take 1 bunch of fresh rosemary (washed) and put it in a saucepan with 1/2 cup grapeseed oil. Turn the heat to medium and allow the rosemary flavor to infuse the oil. When it starts popping or frying, turn the heat to low and let it continue to heat until your kitchen smells like rosemary.

When finished, remove rosemary pieces (or transfer them into a bottle with the extra oil for storage--the flavor will continue to deepen over time).

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