This salad captures the delicate flavours of a fleeting moment in spring when the sweet violets are blooming, fiddleheads are foraged and asparagus plus spinach are abundant.
Fiddleheads – the jewel of spring here in the northeastern USA – are the spring seasons tightly furled fronds of the Ostrich Fern. Fiddleheads have a subtle earthy green flavour. A hyper-seasonal wild food, fiddleheads are foraged and eaten as spring vegetables. Uncooked fiddleheads can be toxic; it is important to boil or steam them for 10 -15 minutes before using in other recipes and eating them.
Anti-oxidant are phytonutrients that can help slow & prevent cellular damage from free radicals that can cause disease. Many plants contain anti-oxidants.
High fibre foods are an important part of a healthy digestive system. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are high in fibre.
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Fiddlehead, Asparagus & Sweet Violet Salad
TRIM – trim off any brown bits on the stem, typically where the fiddlehead was cut from the ostrich fern.
WASH – washing fiddleheads well and removing any brown papery bits is important. Place fiddleheads into a strainer and a bowl of water. Wash, drain, rinse and repeat until the rinsing water is clean.
COOK by boiling in salted water or steam for 10-15 mins – it is crucial to cook fiddleheads as eating raw fiddleheads can be toxic.
ASPARAGUS – wash + trim off any woody end pieces, saving them for a stock. Slice each spear into 3 pieces. You can blanch the asparagus by adding it with the fiddleheads at the last minute of cooking time. Drain with the fiddleheads.
PLATE spinach leaves – tear or slice any larger leaves so they are all around the same size.
SCATTER over drained fiddleheads and asparagus spears.
GARNISH with sweet violet flowers.
drizzle with extra virgin olive oil + sea salt.
toss or drizzled with
Orange Cider Vinaigrette.
Mixed Mustard Dressing
Lemon Dijon Mustard Sauce
Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
Oil-free Mustard Garlic Vinaigrette
Oil-free Orange Vinaigrette
Chive & Thyme Herbal Dressing
add chive goat’s cheese
add boiled eggs
top with pan-sear tofu
top with smoked or pan-sear fish
add steamed baby potatoes and drizzle with a lemon dijon mustard dressing + chives.
FARMER’S MARKETS and local specialty stores are great places to find in-season fiddleheads or those who might have them in your area.
FORAGING If you are foraging yourself, it is crucial to correctly ID the Ostrich Fern as it is the only fern with edible fiddleheads.
PREPPING FIDDLEHEADS, you are looking for fiddleheads that are firm, tightly coiled and earthy green in colour. Trim off the browning ends of harvested fiddleheads and rub off any browned, mushy, papery, frondy bits. Wash them in a bowl of cold water, then rinse, do this just before cooking; it is essential to cook fiddleheads as eating them raw can cause illness.
COOKING TIMES – Safety standards state you should boil for 15 mins or steam for 10-12 minutes; the length of time is debated in the culinary world; I cook mine for a minimum of 12 mins.