April 28, 2010

When chefs fiddle with fiddleheads, deliciousness ensues

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

THIS RECIPE is a favorite of Angelo D'Ambrosio, the resident of Elliottsville Township who started a popular Facebook fan page.

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HERE'S WHAT SOME local chefs are doing with fiddleheads in the kitchens of southern Maine restaurants:

• Jay Villani, owner of Sonny's, says the Portland restaurant is offering oven-roasted fiddleheads with garlic, lemon and butter and finished with Shy Brothers farm fresh cheese curd.

• At Ribollita in Portland, chef/owner Kevin Quiet is offering them as contorni saut? with pancetta and balsamic vinegar.

• David Turin says his Portland restaurant, David's, is offering fiddleheads with brown butter and prosciutto. The dish has been selling out daily.

• At Mia's at Pepperell Square in Saco, chef/owner Steve Rogers is preparing seared scallops with housemade seafood tortellini, fiddleheads, spring onions, wild mushrooms and lemon butter sauce.

• At Nosh in Portland, chef Jason Loring is making "Balsamic Fiddleheads with Lardo." The dish is sauteed fiddleheads with roasted garlic and a balsamic glaze with star anise and clove, topped with paper-thin pieces of lardo that melt over the fiddleheads.


1 pound ziti pasta

1/2 pound Maine native shrimp (cleaned)

2 cups cooked & drained fiddleheads

Approx. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In large pan cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain. When done, put it back in the pan with the cover on it or in large bowl with a cover to keep it hot.

While the pasta is cooking, heat EVOO in a large frying pan. Peel and crush the cloves of garlic, then add to the oil when it is hot. Add cooked fiddleheads (careful not to splash yourself with hot oil) and stir. Saut?or about 5 minutes, then add cleaned shrimp, stir and continue to saute for another 3 minutes, just until the shrimp turn pink. Add salt and pepper, and stir.

Pour over the cooked pasta and stir gently to combine everything with the pasta. More EVOO can be added if desired.

Spoon onto plates and top with grated cheese (optional).


THIS RECIPE from Jeffrey Savage, executive chef at On the Marsh Bistro in Kennebunk, makes use of morel mushrooms, fiddleheads and ramps all in the same seasonal dish.


1/2 pound fresh lump peekytoe Maine crabmeat

1 pound fresh morel mushrooms

1/2 pound wild Maine ramps

1/2 pound cleaned fiddleheads

2 ears fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

1 cup semolina flour

2 1/2 -3 cups whole milk

1/4 pound unsalted butter

1 bunch fresh chives snipped

1/2 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Clean morels with a dry brush and then toss with ramps, oil, thyme and salt and pepper.

2. Place mushroom mixture in a small roasting pan, cover and roast in 400 oven for 15-20 minutes.

3. In a medium sauce pan, bring milk, corn, ½ of the chives and butter to a boil.

4. Whisk in the semolina flour and continue to stir on low heat until it reaches the consistency of pudding (approximately 20 minutes).

5. Blanch fiddleheads in salted water for 1-2 minutes and set aside in the refrigerator.

6. In an enameled iron crock, spray with pan-release and pour about ½ cup of semolina pudding into the bottom.

7. Add roasted ramps and mushrooms into half the crock and the crab and fiddleheads in the other half.

8. Top with clarified butter and bake for about 15 minutes at 400, or until bubbling. Let rest for two minutes and serve with crostini or bread.


THIS FIDDLEHEAD salad recipe comes from the Royal River Grillhouse in Yarmouth:


1 cup cleaned, blanched fiddleheads

1 cup roasted, peeled and diced red beets

1 cup peeled, diced and roasted spring parsnips

10 ounces mesclun greens

1/2 cup goat cheese


1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 teaspoon chopped shallots

1 Tablespoon honey

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 -  1 1/2 cups olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Add the first five ingredients into blender, pour in olive oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Place mesclun greens into large bowl. Add fiddleheads, parsnips, and beets with enough vinaigrette to coat ingredients. Toss lightly. Portion 4-6 plates, crumble goat cheese on top of dish.

(Continued on page 2)

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