So I’m the nerd at the market that gets really excited when I see an unusual ingredient. Like REALLY excited. Like squeal-out-loud and I-don’t-care-who’s-looking excited. This happens when I see things like ramps, low lobster prices, fresh rabbit, and fiddleheads, to name a few. I might even stalk Whole Foods in late April/early May looking for ramps and fiddleheads.
I first tried fiddleheads on a Spring trip to Martha’s Vineyard a few years back. We were at one of our favorite restaurants in Edgartown, Detente, and the menu included a dish that featured them. Much like my food-nerd behavior in markets, I also squeal with delight when I find this stuff on menus – and I have to order it. Fiddleheads taste kind of like asparagus, but a little wilder. They hold their crunch when cooked and you have to admit they look pretty darn cool.
Given fiddleheads can only be found about one or two weeks of the year, I like to let them stand out. So I sauteed them quickly with some garlic in a little olive oil, then tossed them with some pasta and a little ricotta and parmesan. I served it with some grilled lamb for a perfect Spring dinner.
As for my little judges, Nutmeg liked them and asked for more of the “green things” but sadly my Eclair spit hers out and then happily ate the cheesy pasta.
I still haven’t found ramps this year, but chances are you’ll hear my squeals of joy if you’re in the market when I do. 🙂
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 oz. fiddleheads, trimmed and washed
- ½ pound long pasta of your choice, such as mafalde
- ⅔ cup whole milk ricotta
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the fiddleheads. Season with salt and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Drain pasta, reserving the cooking water.
- Add pasta to the pan with the fiddleheads. Stir in the ricotta and Parmesan, adding a little of the pasta water if it is too thick.
- Serve immediately sprinkled with a little more Parmesan.