Nothing says spring like fiddleheads and asparagus. The beginning of sunshine, longer days, warm weather, and tons of local produce. They mark the beginning of the season here in Quebec, when the markets open up and the energy in the air is magical.
I decided to combine the 2 spring vegetables together in this warm but still fresh asparagus and fiddlehead salad. I cooked them, sautéed them in a little olive oil and then dressed them with parsley, olive oil and lemon juice.
I remember my parents buying fiddleheads when I was a child and thinking to myself there is no way I would ever eat those. Boy was I ever wrong. For those of you who don’t know, fiddleheads are ferns, which can be picked when they first push out of the ground. They most definitely have a very unique look to them which was enough to turn me off in my early years.
Asparagus have always been one of my favourite vegetables. My love and appreciation for them has grown over the years and I now understand about growing season and the difference between asparagus.
The season for these two incredible vegetables only lasts a few weeks. They are best eaten as soon as possible after being picked. The same day ideally although not often possible. Fiddleheads should be bright green and be sure to look for the thin asparagus. As the season comes to an end you will see them get thicker and thicker.
These foods can be savoured in the simplest of ways on their own, paired with simple flavours such as lemon or incorporated into other dishes. Salads, pasta dishes, risottos, pilafs, quiches, omelettes, and more.
Take advantage of what the nature and the seasons have to offer. We are so out of touch with nature, growing seasons and where our food actually comes from. Take a trip to your local market and make a point of buying food that is in season. If you are fortunate enough to have a true farmer’s market where you live, make sure to go and take advantage of all the fresh and local produce.
Sadly the asparagus and fiddlehead season is coming to an end this year. Lots more delicious fresh food to come though. The Quebec strawberries have arrived now as we get closer to summer.
Warm Asparagus & Fiddlehead Salad with Lemon, Garlic, & Parsley Dressing
2 cups fiddleheads
2 cups chopped asparagus (about 25)
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil + a little for sautéing
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Put a pot of water on to boil.
Rinse fiddleheads thoroughly several times.
Salt the boiling water and then drop the fiddleheads in. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
Trim the ends of the asparagus by holding both ends and bending downwards until the end snaps off. In a large pan, cook the asparagus in a little bit of water for 4 minutes. Drain.
Return the pan to the stove on low heat. Add a few drops of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic to the pan on low heat for 30 seconds. Add the fiddleheads and the asparagus to the pan and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over the asparagus and fiddleheads.
Remove pan from heat, drain off any excess liquid, transfer to a bowl and dress.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
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