I am talking about the tiny shoots of the Ostrich fern frondly known as fiddleheads.
I like to keep my fiddlehead dishes simple, to showcase their delicate asparagus-y yet nutty flavor. Especially since I have been bereft of them for so long, and I only have enough to prepare 2 recipes.
Thus, for my first dish, I have chosen to modify my Creme d'Asperage soup to benefit from their delectable flavor. I had to reduce the Porcini Powder or it would have completely masked the flavor of the ferns, but I still needed it to provide and earth base for the ferns to spring from. Meyer Lemon was also a key ingredient, providing a brightness, but not as intensely bright as a regular lemon would.
Crème de Fiddlehead Soup
1 lb Fiddleheads
1 shallot, chopped (I use a small onion with asparagus)
2 TB unsalted butter
3 cups Chicken broth (I use 4 cups of stock with asparagus)
2 tsp Porcini Powder (I use 1 1/2 TB with asparagus)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
juice of 1/2 a Meyer Lemon (I use regular Lemon with asparagus)
Meyer lemon slices
First you will have to boil the Fiddleheads for about 10 minutes (just to remove any possible toxins, in case you got a bad fern)
Meanwhile, sweat the shallot in 2 TB butter, until soft.
Drain the Fiddleheads, reserving 6 for garnish at the end.
and add the rest to the pot, tossing briefly to combine with the shallots.
Add the Chicken Stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add 2 tsp Porcini powder and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
Strain the solids from the pot, placing them in the bowl of a food processor, and return the liquid to a simmer.
Puree the fiddleheads and the shallot as best you can. (fiddleheads are a little more fibrous than asparagus)
Press the resulting puree through a fine mesh sieve, into the post of simmering liquid.
Add Heavy Cream and keep warm over low heat (do not let it boil at this point)
Season with a pinch of salt and a little white pepper. If the soup seems a little thick go ahead and add up to 1 more cup of Chicken Stock.
Grab a Meyer Lemon and take 6 thin slices out of the middle for garnishing, this leaves about 1/4 of a lemon on each end.
Squeeze the juice from both the remaining ends into the soup just before plating. (that makes bout 1/2 a lemon)
Serve in wide flat bowls with a garnish of Crème Fraîche, a slice of Meyer Lemon and a reserved Fiddlehead.