Finding Fiddlehead Ferns

I have a favorite route home when I’m coming south on I-5 that is not the fastest way to get here. It involves getting off a couple miles early and taking a winding road through Interlaken Park, which is down the hill from our old apartment. I have very vivid memories of riding my bike through the park our first fall back in Seattle, listening to the new Iron and Wine album on my iPod, and heading off to teach color theory at SPU.

I was taking the same route home the other day, and the road through was blocked off. Something strange came over me, and instead of taking the detour, I parked the car and hopped out to take a look around, wondering if there had been a big landslide. I also had an ulterior motive in the back of my mind – I’ve been reading Langdon Cook’s book about foraging around Seattle called “Fat of the Land” (I know, another blogger with a book that I’m obsessed with), and I’m on the lookout for a nettle patch. As I was walking around, I didn’t find any nettles, but another topic from his book came to mind. Fiddlehead ferns. After a little investigation, I figured out what types of ferns produced fiddleheads and which didn’t, and after that, it was easy to find them.

I took a couple heads from each newly blooming fern (do ferns bloom?), because apparently if you take them all, well, there won’t be a fern there next year, and gathered a handful. Tonight I got around to cooking them up (blanched for a couple minutes, then sauteed in butter), and they were nice and tasty, kind of like asparagus, and apparently full of beta carotene. Plus, I had a little bit of nettle pesto left over from Zack and family’s recent visit mixed into some homemade pasta from the other night to pile them on. Not to brag.

Written by dan in: Food,Foraging | Tags: , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  • Trudy

    Very cool, Dan. I was served fiddlehead ferns as a side in a restaurant once. I couldn’t figure out what they were for a while, but I really liked the taste. How very upscale you are…

    Comment | May 5, 2011

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