May 15, 2013

Soup to Nuts: Fiddle dee dee-licious

Spring is springing, leaves are leafing and ferns are unfurling, which means it's time to cook up a mess of fiddleheads.

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A goat cheese croquette with marinated fiddlehead salad from chef Mitchell Kaldrovich at Sea Glass at Inn By the Sea in Cape Elizabeth.

Courtesy of Sea Glass at Inn By the Sea

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Grace chef Pete Sueltenfuss’ fiddlehead stew.

Meredith Goad/Staff Writer

Additional Photos Below


LEARN TIPS and techniques for preserving fiddleheads.

WHEN: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 29

WHERE: University of Maine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth

HOW MUCH: $15 per person. Scholarships are available.

INFO: 781-6099 or Register online at


• Angelo D'Ambrosio's Facebook page, "Fiddleheads: A Wild Delicacy of Maine and the Northeast," is now approaching 10,000 fans. You can find it here:

• D'Ambrosio has written a guide for people new to picking fiddleheads, and his wife Beverly has put together a cookbook of fiddlehead recipes. Both are available through

• The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service has two publications on fiddleheads available at


HEADING NORTH on Memorial Day weekend? Hiking the 100-Mile Wilderness or just exploring the Moosehead Lake region?

Stop in Monson on May 25 for the first annual Fiddlehead supper at the Monson Center for Community and Commerce, 35 Greenville Road. Because the fiddlehead season will be so short, Angelo D'Ambrosio, creator of the "Fiddleheads: A Wild Delicacy of Maine and the Northeast" Facebook page, has teamed up with Linda Carvalho Bury, owner of Thymes and Seasons, for this new event. The menu will include lots of fiddlehead dishes, as well as ham and beans for those who aren't wild about these wild greens. The supper will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Adults $8, veterans $6, children under 12 $4.

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

2 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped

2 handfuls baby arugula (rocket)

2 handfuls baby spinach

4 radishes, scrubbed and finely sliced

1 pound wild fiddleheads, ends trimmed, rinsed

Blanch the fiddleheads in boiling salty water for 3 minutes. Shock in icy water. Drain and season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs and dress with the lemon vinaigrette. Add the radishes, spinach and baby arugula. Taste for seasoning again and arrange in the center of a bowl. Top with croquettes and serve warm.


2 cups Fern Hill fresh goat cheese


Freshly ground pepper

2 eggs

2 cups bread crumbs

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Mix goat cheese with salt, pepper, chives and half of the parsley.

Scoop out on a plate and chill to firm up. In a bowl, mix eggs with parsley, salt and pepper. Put bread crumbs in a bowl and roll all the goat cheese, forming six rounds with your hands. Dip in the egg mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Refrigerate. Fry in canola oil until golden brown.


For 25 years, Marjorie Standish wrote a food column for the Maine Sunday Telegram called "Cooking Down East."

A compilation of Standish's columns, which contained 350 classic Maine recipes, was published in 1969 and sold more than 100,000 copies.

Three years ago, Down East Books published a revised version featuring updated (and original) recipes from chef Melissa Kelly, who earlier this month won the James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northeast for her work at her Rockland restaurant, Primo.

This is Kelly's recipe for pickled fiddleheads.



2 teaspoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 cups wine vinegar

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

2 1-quart jars worth of fresh fiddleheads

Toast the fennel, coriander and mustard seeds. In a large pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, salt and toasted seeds. Bring to a boil. Then, in a large bowl, pour the broth over the fiddleheads. Let them sit for at least 2 hours. Can according to modern canning instructions, or refrigerate for consumption within a few weeks. Makes two 1-quart jars.

©2010, Marjorie Standish and Melissa Kelly, from "Cooking Down East: Favorite Maine Recipes," Down East Books


Fiddleheads are an easy spring addition to many recipes. Here, Jonah Fertig of Local Sprouts Cooperative adds them to a classic Maine scampi. (If you didn't freeze any Maine shrimp this winter, substitute other shrimp, or try adding lobster.)



From Jonah Fertig, Local Sprouts Cooperative, Portland

1 pound fresh fiddleheads

4 cloves garlic

1 stick (¼ cup) butter

1 pound Maine shrimp

Salt and pepper

Baby spinach or pasta of your choice

Cook fresh fiddleheads for 12 to 15 minutes in boiling water. Drain and cool.

Chop 4 cloves of garlic (or more if you like garlic).

In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add Maine shrimp and cook for 1 minute.

Add fiddleheads and garlic. Cook just until shrimp turns from bright pink to a whitish pink. (Do not overcook.)

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the scampi over baby spinach or pasta.


Staff writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at

Twitter: MeredithGoad


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Additional Photos

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From chef Mitch Gerow at the East Ender in Portland, fiddleheads with egg noodles, tasso ham and purple potatoes.

Courtesy of the East Ender


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