Seasonal Suppers – Fiddlehead Pasta

Fiddleheads have been at the market for a couple of weeks now, and probably will be for a couple more. Every spring, this delicacy is one of the earliest crops available for local eaters. While it seems to me that Fiddleheads were once more of a curiosity – something that only dedicated Maritime locavores picked up on visits to the market – in the last few years I see them everywhere this time of year, including at large grocery stores. As this seasonal treat b

ecomes more and more common on the dinner table, we all need a few more options for cooking.

With Fiddleheads in the fridge on a weeknight, my SO and I were looking for quick way to get them ready and to the table.  Aglio e Olio has for us been a weeknight standby – simple and tasty: garlic, oil, pasta and chilies, it’s pretty easy to throw together after a day a work. Knowing that the addition of asparagus is a great way to embellish the dish – fiddleheads didn’t seem like much of a leap from there.

If you’ve never eaten fiddleheads – or even if you have – a good idea is to read up a bit about food safety and this seasonal treat. Eating undercooked fiddleheads can make you sick – so for this pasta you can’t just sauté them up with your garlic – you need to steam or boil them a bit first and then discard the boiling water.  Once you’ve done that step, the rest is simple. We made one other variation on traditional Aglio e Olio – instead of using Olive Oil, we sautéd our garlic and parboiled Fiddleheads in butter.  Add a splash of lemon juice and some dried chilies and toss with al dente pasta (spaghettini  is the pasta of choice around here).

Want to add wine to your meal?  This guy says that Sauvignon Blanc is the way to go for pairing wine with spring veggies like asparagus and fiddleheads.  We didn’t have any of that in the house. After reading in various places that dedicated asparagus fans pair Muscat with that spring veggie we toasted our luck at having just visited some Annapolis Valley wineries and picked up a bottle of 2008 Muscat from Gaspereau Wines. The pairing of the fruity Muscat with the earthly and slightly spicy pasta was perfect.