Since our success locating and experimenting with Japanese knotweed, Ian and I have been sort of consumed with the idea of foraging. There’s just something very satisfying about going into the woods and emerging with something both safe to eat and tasty as well. Personally, I really want to find and try ramps, but until we get a good tip on where they can be found, they will probably be my white whale.
My older sibling, who lived in this area before me, had given me a tip on where to locate fiddleheads. Nothing says spring in Maine like fiddleheads, so I couldn’t wait to go looking! I had the idea to take Ian’s foraging book (Wild Plants of Maine: A Useful Guide, by Tom Seymour — a gift I’d given him this past Christmas) with us, and once we had located our bounty (though the pickings were slim, and I ended up buying a pound at Hannaford) Ian wandered around and located a few other things he wanted to try.
Trout lily and red trillium both make great cooked greens, as we were to learn. Trout lily is a more succulent leaf, and boiling (perhaps over-boiling) it made it a little slimy, but still tasty — like canned spinach, combined with okra. Red trillium, however, combined all our favorite things about spinach with the hardiness and texture of collards, and we wished we’d taken the time to search out more.
Finally, I decided to try something new with my fiddleheads, and altered my recipe for cream of asparagus soup to make a tasty spring soup for two. To serve more, simply double the recipe.
Cream of Fiddlehead Soup
- 1 pound fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed
- 4 cups chicken broth (or Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Steam fiddleheads until just tender. In a stock pot, melt butter and add onions. Season with garlic powder and add fiddleheads. (Reserve some for garnish, if desired.) Saute until onions are softened and transparent, and add broth. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 30 minutes, or until fiddleheads are quite soft. Turn off heat, add cream, and puree using an immersion blender. (If you don’t have one, do it in batches in a regular blender, but be careful. It’s hot!) Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with steamed fiddlehead garnish.
For more recipes from my kitchen to yours, please visit http://www.forkable.net.