Fiddlehead Zucchini Noodles

This recipe is like spring in a bowl.  It is fiddlehead season, for this week at least, and this dish highlights these tasty late spring veggies. I love those times of year when we can enjoy food that has a only a narrow window of opportunity like fiddlehead.  I may only have one or two meals of fiddlehead each year, in late-May to early June when we get some in our local organic produce bin, so I love to come up with dishes that will showcase them.

In the past I hazucchini noodlesve savoured these morsels in risotto and pasta, but wanted to liven things up a little this year and toss them in a lighter sauce and zucchini noodles.

Note: This recipe could be easily adapted to replace asparagus or snow peas when fiddleheads are out of season (hopefully not by the time this post is up).

What is a fiddlehead?

fiddlehead and shiitakeFiddleheads are ferns before they blossom out into the full fern leaf.  They taste similar to asparagus, but are a bit more delicate, almost grassier.

  •  You want to eat them when they are bright green, and not discoloured.
  •  To prepare them, soak them in cold water for at least 15 minutes, then pare off the ends, which are most often brown.
  • They should br eaten as fresh as possible and always cooked, not raw.

Fiddlehead & Shiitake Mushrooms in Zucchini Noodles
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes until they have started to soften. Toss in the peppers and 1/2 of the minced garlic and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes until the peppers soften. Add in the zucchini noodles, toss so everything is mixed together completely and cook 3 minutes until zucchini has wilted but still has bite.
  2. Remove the vegetables from the pan into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan again and toss in shiitake mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, then add in fiddleheads. Tossing to prevent the mushrooms from sticking, cook for 3-5 minutes then add the garlic. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until fiddlehead are cooked but still firm.
  3. Pour the wine or stock into the pan, scraping the bottom to get any flavour bits off of the pan. Raise the heat to medium high to bring the wine to a simmer and allow to simmer for 1 minute. Add the reserved vegetables into the pan, toss and heat through.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

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