May 052015

Hot & Cold on Fiddleheads & Ramps


Nothing says spring in the country like foraging for wild food. Fiddleheads are a real favorite. Their complex flavor reminds us of broccoli mixed with asparagus and then mixed with spinach. Or something like that. It’s an earthy, nutty taste when cooked. There’s no “right” way to treat a fiddlehead. Boiling, sautéing, roasting all work. And everyone has their favorites. In this recipe we roast them.

Ramps (wild leeks) have a natural, mild-medium onion flavor. In this dish we use the whole delectable plant, including the leaves.

Skill: Easy
Cost: $$$$
Nutrition: ♥♥♥♥
Skills: spiralizing, sauteing, slicing, roasting


Garden Candy Recipe Jar orangeNote: If you’re fiddleheads are freshly harvested they need to be cleaned. To start, soak them in cold water then drain the whole bunch. Rinsing fiddleheads individually is the easiest way to remove the brown papery skins.

Ramps (Wild Leeks) are as easy to clean as any green onions. Running under cold water to remove dirt, sometimes peeling away the thin outer most layer.

Hot Fiddleheads & Ramps with Zucchini NoodlesRecipe I: Roasted Fiddleheads & Ramps with Zucchini Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fiddleheads, cleaned (Asparagus is s fine substitute)
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 small-medium  zucchini
  • 4-6 Ramps
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • lemon zest to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives, snipped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Slice white and red parts of the ramps thinly, setting aside the leaves.
  3. Toss ramp slices and fiddleheads in 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat.
  4. Spread them in a single layer onto baking sheet and roast in oven for about 8-10 minutes, until tender. The ramps may get brown and crispy, that’s fine. (This can be done before hand, leaving the cooked fiddleheads at room temperature.)
  5. Chiffonade the ramp leaves, set aside.
  6. Spiralize the zucchini into noodles.
  7. Heat remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  8. Add zucchini noodles and sauté for no more than 4 minutes. We want them warmed through but
  9. will a little snap still in them.
  10. Reduce heat to low.
  11. Add fiddleheads and ramps to the pan and toss until heated through.
  12. Sprinkle with chiffonade of ramp leaves.
  13. Add the parmesan cheese, stirring until incorprated.
  14. Sprinkle with fresh lemon zest.
  15. Top with chives.

Serve immediately. Serves 2+

Fiddleheads & Ramps Pasta SaladRecipe II:  Chilled Fiddleheads & Ramps Pasta Salad

(Here’s the trick: make more than you need of the hot version and save some of the fiddlehead and ramp mixture for the next day and you can make this light, cold pasta version. The basic recipes are nearly identical.)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fiddleheads, cleaned (Asparagus is s fine substitute)
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 4-6 Ramps
  • ½ -¾ cup parmesan cheese
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Snipped Chives (optional but worth it!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Put a large pot of salted water to boil.
  3. Slice white and red parts of the ramps thinly, setting aside the leaves.
  4. Toss ramp slices and fiddleheads in 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat.
  5. Spread them in a single layer onto baking sheet and roast in oven for about 8-10 minutes, until tender. The ramps may get brown and crispy, that’s fine. (This can be done before hand, leaving the cooked fiddleheads at room temperature.)
  6. Chiffonade the ramp leaves, set aside.
  7. Cook linguini as directed for al dente. Once cooked drain and rise pasta in cold water to halt further cooking and cool.
  8. Transfer pasta to large serving bowl.
  9. Stir in tablespoon of olive oil.
  10. Mix in fiddleheads and ramps.
  11. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  12. Sprinkle with chiffonade of ramp leaves.
  13. Sprinkle with fresh lemon zest.
  14. Top with chives.

Serve at room temperature, or chilled. Toss before serving. Serve 4 luncheon servings, or 6 appetizers.

Christine

Very excitable and prone to fits of glee, Christine cooks on a vintage 1950 General Electric double-oven stove, does not have a dishwasher unless you count the husband, and is guilty of posting cat cuteness on the interwebs. She photographs and blogs about food and other joyful topics from her home in Vermont.

Co-Author of Garden Candy Basics

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