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Posted on Tue, May 10, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Garlic-Herb Papparadelle with Fiddlehead Ferns and Tomatoes

By Peggy Lampman


Garlic-Herb Papparadelle with Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns and Tomatoes

Peggy Lampman | Contributor

Peggy Lampman's Tuesday dinnerFeed

If I could bestow a flavor profile to the woods after a rainfall in May, its taste would be fiddlehead ferns and morel mushrooms. In fact, about this time last year I made a Morel and Fiddlehead Fern Gratin, in celebration of the spring.

According to Wikipedia, fiddlehead ferns, named after the scroll of a violin, are the unfurled fronds of a fern, available fresh only in the spring. I picked up a batch at The Produce Station.

In Indonesia, fiddleheads are sometimes cooked with coconut milk, peppers, lemongrass, galangal and turmeric leaves. In Korea they may be found as a component in bibimbap. In North America they are often blanched and eaten, like asparagus, with lemon-butter sauce or hollandaise.

In fact, the flavor of these snail-resembling fronds taste like earth asparagus. Flavor of garlic and herbs in the locally-produced Al Dente Pasta was all the seasoning this simple supper required.

Yield: 2-3 main course servings


2 cups fiddlehead ferns, washed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes
8 ounces paparadelle, such as Al Dente Garlic-Herb Papparadelle
Parmesan Reggiano


1. Bring two large pots of salted water to a boil. In one pot, blanche fiddleheads, as you would fresh asparagus, 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain in colander and reserve. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package instructions, or until they are tender yet firm. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil so they don't stick together.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan to medium heat. Add tomatoes to pan and cook until they are just beginning to wrinkle. Add fiddleheads to pan and continue cooking until tomatoes are just beginning to collapse and release their juices.
3. Toss vegetables with pasta. Season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and Parmesan and serve.

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