My original intention for this post was meant for last week but as most of you know my home state was hit with the most horrific natural disaster it has seen. Wednesday evening about one hundred and eighty tornados pummeled their way through homes, schools, churches, and knocked down countless hundred year old oak trees taking the lives of many. Though were I live was not affected directly my heart has been heavy with sorrow yet full of gratitude as I thank God that my family and friends are safe and sound.
Thank you to all who sent me notes and and prayers. Though nothing more than a tree branch is amiss at our house I ask that you continue to pray for all of those suffering after loosing everything they had, including their loved ones. We have been tremendously encouraged by the camaraderie and love expressed amongst all races, religions, and not to mention rival football teams. The recovery will take years and I pray that the selfless support and voluntary efforts will last just as long. My whole heart and prayers go out to all affected by these terrible storms.
Since my mind has been has been on less trivial things these days I haven't had a lot of motivation to do much of anything and that includes cooking. However I found some fresh fiddleheads grown right here in Alabamee so I thought I would spruce up my day with a simple salad.
For those unaware, fiddleheads are the unfurled frond of a young fern. Harvested in the early spring these curly sprigs can usually be found in the month of April so it is important to get your hands on them while you can. The key to a good fiddlehead is to lightly blanch them for about five minutes and then give them a quick ice water bath to maintain the vibrant green hue. Blanching also deminishes the fiddleheads' notorious bitter flavor.
To accompany the fiddleheads I chopped up some fresh pomelo, a sister of the grapefruit yet milder of the two. Some toasted almonds gave a nice crunch while a thyme and balsamic vinaigrette tied everything together. And do not forget the cheese! A light dusting of fresh parmesan reggiano is all you need.
Fiddlehead Fern & Pomelo Salad
- 1 pint of fresh fiddlehead ferns (I found mine at my local market near the mushrooms and herbs)
- a bunch of arugula
- 1 pomelo chopped in chunks
- toasted almonds
- parmesan reggiano
- fresh basil for garnish
For fiddleheads, trim off stem end and wash thoroughly, rubbing gently between your fingers. Drain well. Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Blanch fiddleheads until tender, about 5 minutes (tasting is the best way to judge). Drain fiddleheads and shock in ice water to halt cooking. Drain and chill until ready to serve.
Toss the fiddleheads, arugula, toasted almonds, pomelo and vinaigrette. Grate parmesan on top and garnish with fresh basil.
Thyme Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 medium shallot, finely minced
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine first four ingredients then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Adjust seasonings as needed. Vinaigrette will keep in a jar in the fridge for several days. Makes 1 cup.